Incubated in the Seattle punk rock scene, Neko Case founded and contributed to a diverse set of bands, most famously the New Pornographers, while building her solo career over five studio albums. Each was a stylistic breakthrough, carried on Case’s truly unique vocals, culminating with 2009’s Grammy-nominated Middle Cyclone.
On her sixth album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (September 3 via ANTI-), Case conveys rich autobiographical tales through a broad spectrum of styles: alt-country to pop, moody to clever, and sometimes downright hilarious. A student of her past, she is able to articulate matters of her own heart that resonate on a universal level.
Case eschews her signature country noir on Man, a power pop anthem with a red-blooded Americana core. A chiming Springsteen-esque jaunt kicks off this assertive gender commentary, bolstered by the gnashing guitars of M. Ward (She & Him).
If I’m dipshit drunk on pink perfume then I am the man in the fucking moon
Because you didn’t know what a man was until I showed you
Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, My Morning Jacket) helms aggressive production here but is able to scale back and capture Neko’s crystalline a cappella on Nearly Midnight In Honolulu. Enjoy the depth, the humor, the sadness, and the wit of this album in heavy doses. It might be one of your favorites of 2013. You can currently stream the album via Pitchfork here. If you’re in Nashville, be sure to catch her show at Cannery Ballroom on October 23.
– Whitaker Elledge