Neko Case has been one of my favorite artists for as long as I’ve known her. From the minute I first heard her incredible voice belting out on The New Pornographers track “Mass Romantic”, all the way to her current form on her latest album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, I’ve been hopelessly enamored with all she does. And she’s quite an artist to be attached to, because although her style has slowly morphed over the years from alt-country into more of an indie-leaning Americana, her voice is still the most powerful one out there today. Of course, I wouldn’t dare downplay her songwriting abilities either, as her last four albums have all been home runs. The title of the latest one is certainly a mouthful and includes many terrific and unique moments - including the sharp stab at patriarchal norms and gender identity on “Man" - as well as my favorite song of the year, "Night Still Comes". It packs such a large amount of feeling into a song that’s under 4 minutes long, and while there’s a bit of dark humor with the "I revenged myself, all over myself" and "If I puked up some sonnets" lines, the main theme here is the inevitable way that damn self-loathing feeling gets in the way of appreciating the magic in our lives. Neko may be smart enough to know how to use her "no fucks left to give" attitude as a motivational technique, but even so, it doesn’t matter if you’re a talented and beloved singer-songwriter or just a lowly appreciator, night still comes. Luckily, we have Neko’s voice and wisdom to help us navigate these problems, and her chorus here is able to say so much in just a few words. "You never held it at the right angle." How many different facets of life can this one speak to? All our failed relationships, our failed projects, our failed goals, hopes, and dreams. Were they really failures? Or perhaps we just never learned to appreciate what we were capable of or what we really had at the time. At least, going forward, we’ll always have Neko’s music.
Best Moment: Catch-a-catch-a-catch-a-catch-a falling star (at 1:08 and 2:33) never fails to elicit chills, as both a metaphor for the magic we’ve been unable to hold onto in our lives, as well as the beauty of discovering the song itself.
The Album [The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You]: 9/10