Ani DiFranco's Declaration Of Undying Love

May 9, 2012

Ani DiFranco has built her reputation as a take-no-bull folksinger who champions the downtrodden, rails against privileged excess and offers messages of empowerment and solidarity. A Woody Guthrie disciple, she's famous for circumventing the music-industry machine to find success on her own terms with her Righteous Babe label.

Yet DiFranco also has a soft, romantic side, which she captures with simple elegance in "Hearse." She opens the track with the sound of lightly tinkling bells, which quickly segue to a dirge-like beat as DiFranco strums her guitar and sings in her clear, commanding voice, "I don't wanna strive for nothin' anymore / I just wanna lie here with you."

Later, she promises, "I will always be your lover / even after our atoms are dispersed. ... And I will follow you into the next life / like a dog chasing after a hearse." Those words may not register as romantic when read off a computer screen. But when DiFranco sings them sweetly — without any sense of pain or longing, but merely as statements of fact — the depth of her love is fully evident and undeniable.

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