Ani DiFranco

Educated Guess

Fiercely independent Ani DiFranco has pretty much done it all herself this time. Only one other person is credited on this truly solo album (Greg Calbi, who mastered it), and it’s an awful lot of Ani. As always, she’s full of sincerity and progressive politics, with enough in the way of catchy turns to keep herself from becoming too much of a good thing. Lyrics like “I am an all-powerful amazon warrior / not just some sniveling girl,” from “Origami,” need the good hook she provides to keep them from laughable self-empowerment. The spoken-word pieces are riffs in sort of a poetry-rap-folk fusion. The title track, “Origami” and “Rain Check” are particularly tuneful, and the spoken-word “Grand Canyon” has a lot to say about patriotism in the Bush years.