Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby

danieltalsky | Albums,My Favorite Things (Classics),Reviews | Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Neko Case got so much attention for this album when it came out that I forget sometimes how many people didn't experience her until KEXP started playing the haunting Deep Red Bells.  By then I already was in love with Furnace Room Lullaby.

Neko Case and her wailing power have no like.  She is a monster.   And this isn't the only album where she depicts herself dead.   Hell, even though it's true that this album is about heartbreak and death, theres plenty that's uplifting about it to me.  It's just about being in pain and making an amazing howl of it.  Plus there's a real amazing love song to Tacoma, and you don't see that very often.

Later on, her production gets smoother, and she refines her Women's-Lib-Aware Country Femme Fatale songwriting style to a more polished shine, but here it's not so smooth.  Just rousing country music songs with her voice slicing through everything like a knife.  There isn't a single song I don't love on this album, but there's a few that stand out to me.

First, there's Mood To Burn Bridges, her ode to giving the kiss-off to "Snooty Bitches":

[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/04-mood-to-burn-bridges.mp3|titles=Neko Case – Mood To Burn Bridges]

Then, I am a huge sucker for the watery guitar and Patsy Cline style of No Need To Cry:

[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/05-no-need-to-cry.mp3|titles=Neko Case – No Need To Cry]

Finally, I think you're ready for the heavy hitter, the astounding South Tacoma Way.  Is it too inexact to just say I consider this an example of some kickass songwriting?  From the very first words, "I put on that sweater you gave me.  I woke up in the kitchen, a few minutes later.  I didn't know how I had gotten there.  Did you guide me?" to "couldn't pay my respects to a dead man, your life was so much more to me, and I chased it away with sticks and stones, but that rage kept following me" to "I can't comprehend the ways that I miss you, they come to life in my mistakes" to "the cross-streets bear your name."  (Which, I'm sure they do.)

[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/10-south-tacoma-way.mp3|titles=Neko Case – South Tacoma Way]
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