Some singers’ voices just have it. When you are listening, you’re well aware that you’re in the presence of genius. And, too, they stay with you long after the record has finished spinning. They are memorable for their uplifting, unique sound, and hearing them in any context makes you sit up and listen, always wanting more.
Neko Case, undeniably, has such a voice.
She can belt it out (oh my goodness, can she!) with an apparent effortlessness, and she can just as easily purr a torch song that’ll leave you melted in your seat. She can wail a hurtin’ track that pulls you right in and leaves you wanting to help her any way you can. She can sound energetic and fun, introspective and thoughtful, sexy and playful. Sometimes all at once.
She brings to mind Patsy, Dolly, Emmy Lou, Tammy and Loretta. But even better, and beyond such comparisons, Neko’s is a voice all unto itself too, a unique gem shining out at us, begging to be heard at every possible opportunity.
This record, recorded with Her Boyfriends, is a fully-lit stage of a showcase of all of Case’s incredible talents. There’s no dust in any of the corners here, unless it’s meant to be there, and then even that makes sense too. Each track grabs and totally holds your attention, putting the rest of whatever your brain was trying to do completely on hold.
The long list of talented musicians here perfectly compliment the songs, adding an inspired panache to the proceedings and perfectly bringing just the right amount of playing to each track. Nothing is overdone, nothing is even close to poorly played. It all works wonderfully, so my heartfelt kudos to everyone involved!
Other names you may recognize, appearing here, include Kelly Hogan, Carl Newman, Ford Pier and Ron Sexsmith, in case you needed any other poking and prodding to get out there and get your own copy of this beauty.
It’s simple: own this and play it often. You’re welcome.
01 Set Out Running
02 Guided By Wire
04 Mood To Burn Bridges
05 No Need To Cry
06 Twist The Knife
07 Thrice All American
08 We’ve Never Met
09 Whip The Blankets
10 South Tacoma Way
11 Bought And Sold
12 Furnace Room Lullaby
I could go on and on about how much I love to listen to Neko Case sing. There’s something incredible in her delivery, in the words themselves, and most importantly in that perfect, hot liquid voice of hers. She could sing entries from the phonebook and she’d have my rapt attention throughout.
Having not yet had the opportunity to see her in concert, this album pleases me to no end. The sound quality’s great, Case is in fine, powerful form, the band is spot on, and the song selection is perfect. Best of all (for me), this album comes from the tour for her completely amazing album Blacklisted, about which I’ve already slobbered, on this site.
Thinking I’m going a little too far in my blissful reportage? Think I’m making this up, or overstating my opinion? Go get yourself a copy of this record, play it through, and you’ll find yourself completely agreeing with me. It’s a cinch. I promise.
Every song on Blacklisted sends chills up my spine, and makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Neko’s voice haunts me, imprinting itself on my brain, echoing long after the CD has finished spinning. The music is brilliantly played, understated, perfectly suited to the seductive rise and fall of her delivery, never once interfering or overpowering. But it’s that voice that totally captivates…
I can keep this review brief, sum it up here: If you don’t own this record, do not sleep until you do. And when you get it, play it repeatedly. It will seep into your blood, and soak into your bones. You will fall in love with the incredible beauty herein.
Need further prodding? Blacklisted officially tied with Guided By Voices’ Universal Truths And Cycles as Album Of The Year for 2002, in my books. And I really love Guided By Voices.