October 16, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Ani DiFranco Returns, Just in Time for Pride

In the few years since we last heard from Ani DiFranco, quite a bit has changed. The original lesbian-indie-folk superstar, creator of her own label,  and spitter of spoken word-style truth tracks hasn’t put out anything new since the halcyon days of 2014 with “Allergic to Water.” This year, perhaps as a kind of counterbalance to the political chaos of the first half of 2017, DiFranco announced that her 19th studio album “Binary” will be released on June 9, just in time for L.A. Pride.

It’s the kind of news that might have, in a more innocent time, been a bit more exciting to the queer populace. Of all the artists to have emerged in that specific moment of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s – that time of “My So-Called Life,” Lilith Fair, and Monica Lewinsky – DiFranco is probably the one whose style has remained the most consistent. In her new record, we can still hear the twang of the early, angry radical feminist who decided to set off on her own to create her own label, Righteous Babe records – an almost unprecedented move for the time. We can hear the sadness and conviction of someone who has always been unafraid to piss people off.

That’s always who DiFranco has been, and no one has really learned, even after all these years, how to forgive her for it.

Everyone has their own reason for this: It’s because she got too conceptual. It’s because she mellowed out. It’s because she moved away from her roots. It’s because she cried radical lesbianism and then married a dude.

But the DiFranco on “Binary” still has as much to say as she’s always had about gender, feminism, and the messed-up world. It’s only that her brand of political preaching has gone out of fashion. “Binary” is heavy on the political “I” in a style that belongs to a less complicated folk tradition.  “Deferred Gratitude”, a track dedicated to the Obama presidency, is a melancholy call to arms: “I vote in every election/ I hope someday these kids are gonna help us win.”

In “Play God,” she sings: “I feel I’ve earned my right to choose/You don’t get the right to play God/I do.” The title track asks “where are my sisters/where are my brothers.” It’s the question many of us are asking, but DiFranco has an almost cringingly naively hippie way of putting it. This has always been DiFranco’s problem: Her earnestness has lost her a lot through the years. Lyrics like “I feel your anger/I feel your pain” are almost directly opposed to the modern style of social activism, which thrives on the belief that no one can ever really, truly know anyone’s pain: That to even try is, in a way, offensive. For DiFranco and the generation that grew up on her music, it’s hard to even calculate the ways in which things have become so much more complicated than they were in the world that produced “Both Hands.”

Related Posts

The Los Angeles LGBT Center & Gochis Galleries Announce Collaboration With Art Division

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Advocate & Gochis Galleries announced a collaboration with Art Division.  Art Division is a community...

QFilms Long Beach Returns

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

QFilms Long Beach, Long Beach’s oldest film festival, returns September 30 – October 3 to celebrate the diversity of LGBTQ...

Lady Gaga Announces New Album Dropping In October

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Oscar and Grammy winner Lady Gaga has announced that she will be dropping a new album set to be released...

“Pose” Actor Jason Rodriguez Forms New Talent Agency

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

Jason Rodriguez, the unequivocal new face of voguing and “Pose” superstar, has formed a new talent agency called Arraygency.  Rodriguez...

AltaMed Health Services to Host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show”

August 5, 2021

August 5, 2021

AltaMed Health Services, will host “Inclusion Beyond Pride: A Queer Art Show” on Friday, Aug. 6, 6-10 p.m. in Los...

Lil Nas X Releases New Music Video “Industry Baby”

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

Lil Nas X has shared the music video for his new song “Industry Baby”. Directed by Christian Breslauer the video...

GLAAD Responds To Historic Emmy Noms

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

GLAAD has responded to the historic Emmy nominations after it was announced that out trans actress MJ Rodriguez and out...

MJ Rodriguez Makes History As First Out Trans Woman Emmy Nominee

July 26, 2021

July 26, 2021

Actress Michaela Jaé, formerly known as  MJ Rodriguez, became the first out trans woman performer to be nominated in a...

“Gayest Episode Ever” An LGBTQ+ Podcast

June 29, 2021

June 29, 2021

Gayest Episode Ever is an LGBTQ+ podcast hosted by journalist Drew Mackie and screenwriter Glen Lakin. The podcast looks at...

WeHo Poet Laureate Reviews LGBTQ Documentray “Senior Prom”

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

West Hollywood poet Laureate, RENT Poet founder and author of “The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America with...

WeHo One City One Pride Kick-Off

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

On Saturday, May 22, 2021 the City of West Hollywood kicked-off its One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival.  A...

Pride Poets Poetry Hotline This Weekend

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

West Hollywood’s poet laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace and the Pride Poets team will be writing free custom poems this weekend in...

WeHo’s Public Art Exhibition ‘Meringue’ by Artist Kiduck Kim

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

The City of West Hollywood presents the public art sculpture installation “Meringue” by artist Kiduck Kim on display through July...

Pride Poets’ Corner: Featuring Nate’Eya Kahsai

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

Pride Poets’ Corner, curated by WeHo’s Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace, would like to spread the word about their upcoming poetry...

Pride Poets’ Corner: Featuring Works By D.R. Baker

June 6, 2021

June 6, 2021

Pride Poets’ Corner, curated by WeHo’s Poet Laureate Brian Sonia-Wallace, would like to spread the word about their upcoming poetry...