Ani Difranco Revelling/Reckoning

On this double CD, DiFranco sings, "What a waste of thumbs that are opposable/to make machines that are disposable." Frankly, the same could be said of DiFranco's recent albums, on which her innate talents of songwriting and communication flounder. The musicianship is still excellent, and on paper the words read like wonderful personal/political poetry, but the music itself doesn't cut it. Some of these 29 songs are fine, particularly the ones that show more of a jazz influence, and the best ones seem the most effortless, like the instrumental "Beautiful Night." But there are far too many soft funk numbers that sound more like Steely Dan, not the kind DiFranco was pulling off as recently as two years ago. But who can keep up? It's one thing to be prolific, it's another to show contempt for your audience by flooding the market with every half-baked thought, hoping they'll snap it up. (Righteous Babe)