With 1993’s Like I Said, Ani DiFranco revisited (and recorded) songs from her first two albums, adding layers of warm harmonies and personal experience to some of her favorite early tracks. Most of the arrangements are more fully fleshed out, uniting the folksinger’s distinct voice and guitar-work with Brazilian, Irish and African drums, as well as more conventional instruments like bagpipes, accordion and cello. The spoken word piece “Not So Soft” pulsates with new life here. DiFranco seems at once humble and ambitious: “I always wanted to be commander in chief of my one-woman army/But I can envision the mediocrity of my finest hour.” Trumpets and military march-style drums give “Roll With It” an added punch, while piano (an instrument DiFranco has always underused) gives “Out Of Habit” a playful feel. Potentially forgotten gems are breathed new life on the album; long before Jill Sobule kissed a girl, DiFranco’s “The Whole Night” poetically explored feminine intimacy (“We can hold hands like paper dolls/We can try each other on/In the privacy within New York City’s walls”). Similarly, 1990’s stunning “Rush Hour” is given an ominous violin treatment befitting DiFranco’s intense words: “There were certain things he did not need to know/There were some days that I did not love him.” Like I Said offers superior versions of old Ani classics and finds DiFranco more comfortable in her skin than ever before.
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