Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Music Decade List #19: Neko Case - Middle Cyclone (2009)

Nothing on Middle Cyclone is all that different than what Case has been putting out on record for most of the decade. It is a quantum leap forward in precision and confidence of craft that make this album stand out. The number one focal point of Case has always been her fantastic voice but here, she has the consistent melodies to back it up. It's amazing songs like 'This Tornado Loves You' or 'People Got a Lotta Nerve' never became hit songs (though it probably says more for the state of the music business and radio than the public in general). The songs on Middle Cyclone don't follow any genre in particular but they are all crafted with an atmospheric bent that allows Case to belt or be more subdued at any given moment. The hint of reverb in something like 'Vengeance Is Sleeping' adds a little more to a simple guitar track. But once again, it comes back to the melodies, which I'll make the case that this is the strongest and most consistent set on any Case album. Besides the two I mentioned above, later tracks like the title one and 'I'm an Animal' have fantastic hooks. For an artist who always seem to have trouble getting her songs more attention than her voice, Middle Cyclone feels like that Case has discovered the right formula to accomplish that.

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