65. “The Tigers Have Spoken” by Neko Case
As my friends know, when I like something – I really like it. Once it was Allpoetry.com, a site featuring terrible poetry by terrible poets. I posted poems that were as bad as I could write and people told me they loved the imagery. I would comment on the worst of the worst and tell the authors they had a career in poetry. I read really bad poems aloud to my friends, laughing hysterically the whole time. I was obsessed with it for at least a month.
Right now, it’s The Tigers Have Spoken, a live album by Neko Case. I listen to it over and over and over. It’s been a week and I haven’t listened to anything else. And it’s been a diverse week, too – rainy days, sunny days, days of paper writing. The tigers have spoken eloquently to me in every situation (sorry, sorry, I know).
Neko Case, of the New Pornographers, always meant indie-rock to me. My heart lies more with Americana, so I was never a huge fan. But this album is folky, country-y, and even kinda rockin’. Case covers Loretta Lynn’s Rated X (absolutely fantastic), a Buffy Sainte-Marie song (Soulful Shade of Blue) and a smattering of good ol’ American folk standards. Case’s voice lends itself beautifully to country music. I was pleasantly surprised to hear such musicality from a New Pornographer.
Her covers really stand out. Rated X is unbelievable and has been in my head all week. Soulful Shade of Blue is also fantastic. Country legends should be proud to hear such covers of their songs. I imagine that a lot of these covers are boring as shit, but Case is clearly having a lot of fun – and her voice has SOUL, man. Case’s own songs are also really good. The first song, If You Knew, is a perfectly bitter way to start the album. Favorite is a bit country. It features a great banjo, which of course endears me to the song.
Speaking of the banjo. I absolutely love the banjo on this album. It’s used exactly as the banjo should be used – as a pure and simple enhancement to a great song. It’s mostly Scruggs-style picking, and I LOVE IT. I love it. Any album with good banjo is an A+ in my book. Unfortunately, it’s not played by Neko. But Wayfaring Stranger features some great walking banjo pickin’ and also a crowd sing-along – another tug on my folk-strung heart.
Overall, the album is great. It’s not too soft and gentle – it’s kinda rockin’ most of the time. Like good ol’ country and honky tonk. Loretta Lynn obviously influenced Case a lot on this album. There’s also a lot of beauty and the right amount of gentility when it’s called for. With catchy tunes, fantastic pipes, and a banjo, Case hits it out of the park on this one.