Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Neko Case

  • Blacklisted [Bloodshot, 2002] Dud
  • Fox Confessor Brings the Flood [Anti-, 2006] Choice Cuts
  • Middle Cyclone [Anti-, 2009] **
  • The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You [Anti-, 2013] A-
  • Hell-On [Anti-, 2018] B+

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Blacklisted [Bloodshot, 2002] Dud

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood [Anti-, 2006]
"Margaret vs. Pauline," "Star Witness" Choice Cuts

Middle Cyclone [Anti-, 2009]
Sounds strong and normal, definitely isn't the latter and how much that combination moves you is how much you care ("People Got a Lotta Nerve," "Don't Forget Me"). **

The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You [Anti-, 2013]
Now 42 and three years past her most readily parsed solo album, Case confesses that the mortality she's seen in the interim moved her to write more confessionally. That seems to mean, although no one's talking, not just lyrically but melodically and structurally, which translates to more parsably still. There are hooks here, folks, and literalism fan that I am, I say they're most effective on the strictly reportorial "Nearly Midnight, Honolulu" and the lost-love "Calling Cards." Favorite metaphor: "Man"'s "I'm a man." Favorite obscurity: "You never held it at the right angle." A-

Hell-On [Anti-, 2018]
Lyrically and melodically, Case has never been more accessible or accomplished. Emotionally, however, she's as distant as ever, and no longer inclined to soften that fact with a reassuring scrim of obscurism. Like her, you may well think God is a tire fire and petroleum an offense against the organic life it exploits and destroys. But that won't make the two of you allies--she rides alone. Here she's smartest and most effective memorializing a family friend who abused children without assaulting them sexually or physically, rendering him the proximate cause of "Curse of the I-5 Corridor" and its devastated "So I left home and faked my ID/And fucked every man that I wanted to be." B+