Buy This Album . . .

I have a bit of an "epiphany" last week. It may have been brought on by any number of things . . . my Rosh Hashanah reflections, a lack of blog topic inspirations, my loathing of the "Pumpkin Spice Latte is back and we're all better off for it" gushing in the world, or it could be that I'm exhausted with Miley Cyrus "twerk" talk but I've come to realize my tastes have evolved a lot in the last year.

Perhaps it is that I'm making decisions for "me" for the first time in a decade (not that my still sorta' wife ever told me what to think, read, listen to, watch, eat, drink, etc. but I used try to keep her in context in my behaviors) but at this point I'm just sorta' on my own and making decisions on things that seem to be more influenced by the experience that lead up to being "alone" than the people I left behind or the status of being alone. I'm rambling . . . music.

We're here to discuss music. When I was a young man (in age - emotionally I'm still waiting for adolescence and the dropping of my plums that would signal manhood) I had a very clear idea of what music I liked . . . simple . . . rap/hip hop (I would drone on and on about the difference between the two to all who would endure it), classical music, singer songwriters, opera, adult contemporary (whatever my mother enjoyed, as a general rule of thumb) and a little pop music.

I've refined that musical taste quite a bit. I listen to very little rap/hip hop anymore (if you remove my workout music that number goes to just about zero) and I focus mainly on singer/songwriters and classical music. If it isn't spoke word over a sample, music performed by dozens of hands or a few highly trained voices, or something that was written, recorded, performed, and produced by the same person (or group of people) . . . I'm out.

Enter this fantastic woman named Neko Case and her new album "The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You." (yes, that is the name of the album). Now there is nothing "new" about Neko Case. I can't pretend I stumbled upon some woman strumming in a local coffee shop and knew her "when" (she's been making music commercially for 20 years) and there is nothing all that special about her (in terms of why I might be drawn to her - she's wonderfully talented) but here we are with this album that she wrote and recorded over the last few years and it is simply beautiful and I can not get enough of it.

With the exception of "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu" (which is just sort of upsetting - it is based on a true story, I heard on KMUW, and reminded Case of her own childhood, sadly) the entire album seems like something that could be about just about anyone and yet it is about her. It is about her life. Her perspectives and experiences. I think it is really "brave" (for lack of a better word) to make an album like this - sort of loose in genre and meandering in spirit yet clearly about a life lived - and to have the talent to really pull it off makes it all the more appreciable.

Have a listen. See if you can hear moments of yourself in it. I just hope it is not "Honolulu" that hits home for you. Bless your heart if it does.