Ani DiFranco followed-up her critically-acclaimed, gold-selling live album Living In Clip with the bubbly Little Plastic Castle. There was speculation that the album would be her official pop breakthrough, and no one seemed more aware of this than DiFranco herself. Little Plastic Castle was a fishbowl concept album, with DiFranco performing her own self-examination under public scrutiny. “Swan Dive” found the singer contemplating the leap into the rocky waters of stardom: “They can call me crazy if I fail/All the chance that I need is one in a million/And they can call me brilliant if I succeed.” The title track even responded to her disenchanted fans’ accusations that she was selling out: “People talk about my image/Like I come in two dimensions/Like lipstick is a sign of my declining mind.” Back was the tongue-in-cheek humor missing from her last studio album, but there was also an ounce of angst leftover from Dilate. Tracks like “Glass House” and “Loom” come closest to capturing the high energy of DiFranco’s live act, but a comparatively miniature “Gravel” is inferior to the pumped-up version on Living In Clip.
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