Tunes Tuesday: Ani DiFranco

Copyright JC Politi Photography

This week’s Tunes Tuesday pick is from one of the most brilliant song-writers of all times, in my humble opinion.  Ani DiFranco writes raw and provocative lyrics, and delivers her words with a silky smooth sound.

She speaks truth to power and never shies away from difficult subjects. Her words eloquently convey emotions that are difficult for most to explain or describe.

This song is one of my favorites for its dark poignancy and sadness. This week, I bring you Ani DiFranco.

School Night
Ani DiFranco

she went over to his apartment
clutching her decision
and he said, did you come here to tell me goodbye?
so she built a skyscraper of procrastination
and then she leaned out the twenty-fifth floor window
of her reply
and she felt like an actress
just reading her lines
when she finally said
yes. it’s really goodbye this time
and far below was the blacktop
and the tiny toy cars
and it all fell so fast
and it all fell so far

and she said:
you are a miracle but that is not all
you are also a stiff drink and i am on call
you are a party and i am a school night
and i’m lookin’ for my door key
but you are my porch light

and you’ll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you’ll probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is but one of my truths

what of the mother
whose house is in flames
and both of her children
are in their beds crying
and she loves them both
with the whole of her heart
but she knows she can only
carry one at a time?
she’s choking on the smoke
of unthinkable choices
she is haunted by the voices
of so many desires
she’s bent over from the business
of begging forgiveness
while frantically running around
putting out fires

but then what kind of scale
compares the weight of two beauties
the gravity of duties
or the ground speed of joy?
tell me what kind of gauge
can quantify elation?
what kind of equation
could i possibly employ?
and you’ll never know, dear
just how much i loved you
you probably think this was
just my big excuse
but i stand committed
to a love that came before you
and the fact that i adore you
is just one of my truths

so i
i’m goin’ home
to please the one i so love pleasing
and i don’t expect
he’ll have much sympathy for my grieving
but i guess that this is the price
that we pay for the privilege
of living for even a day
in a world with so many things
worth believing

What do you think? Do you have a favorite song that conveys dark emotions?  Who is your favorite dark song-writer?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!


Filed under Love, Music

36 responses to “Tunes Tuesday: Ani DiFranco

  1. Pretty cool lyrics. I like her word smithing and the Coffee House feel to her singing, which I mean as a great compliment. I see why you like her and will need to try on more of her music and walk around some. Thanks for sharing. BTG

  2. Thanks BTG! She is a bit of a feminist hero and some of her lyrics are pretty radical. I love her use of words and her voice is amazing. You are right – very coffee-shop-esque! Thanks so much for the comment!

  3. Very nice …. never heard Ani before – nice to meet here. When about music that suits my “dark moments” – I would say – Mozart’s Requiem-Lacrimosa: or something up beat with meaningful lyrics- like “The living tree” with Shirley Bassey … love the words, have done a post about my “sad song” too. – best lyric writer, must in my ears be Elton John – but I can listen to him too long even if I love his lyrics … getting depressed then. *smile

  4. It’s so nice to focus on the lyrics without the distraction of melody. Truly, poetry. Ani conjures such clear and powerful images with her words! Radio is something I listen to while driving. Since I drive so rarely, I’m completely out of touch with the music scene. In my head, I mostly hear the ancient mantras I’ve been repeating for years…xoxoM

    • Isn’t it? For me, that is the fun of the Tuesday Tunes. We so frequently hear a song and don’t even notice the words, when for me, the words can be the most beautiful part!! Thanks for the comment Margarita! I wish I drove so rarely! 😉

  5. The verse depicting the mother who much choose between her two children is powerful. I reminds me of the choices the Nazis forced Jewish women to make when they arrived at the prison camps. Terrifying!

  6. Waiting for the Night to Come – Depeche Mode

  7. I don’t normally listen to Leonard Cohen–not my typical type of music–but I love his song “Darkness.” Talk about seductive dark lyrics:

    “I caught the darkness. It was drinking from your cup. I caught the darkness. Drinking from your cup. I said, ‘Is this contagious?’ You said, ‘Just drink it up.'”

    Love it!

  8. For me, Ani will always and forever be “Untouchable Face.” If I even THINK about that song (like a few moments ago) I have to stop and sing it in my head all quiet-like…

  9. Ani always gets my vote!!

    • Really? How cool! I knew I liked you!! 😉 She has so many great lyrics, it was tough to pick, but this one has stuck with me since the first time I heard it! Thanks so much for reading, Mimi!!

  10. New artist for me Jenni. LIKE!

    • Yay! I am so glad you like her. Personally, I like her two cd release revelling and reckoning because it has great music to accompany her great lyrics. This song is from that album. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment, David!

  11. Adele’s Rolling in the Deep or Set Fire to the Rain must be the darkest lyrics I’ve heard recently. They must have come from the darkest place in her soul…I truly pity the guy that inspired such feelings ….

  12. I have loved this song since high school! Thank you so much for sharing it.

  13. Thanks for the introduction.

  14. Perfect with my coffee this morning..peaceful.

  15. Jennifer,
    Excellent choice with Ani. After reading the lyrics and hearing this soul searching song. I wonder why I don’t own any of her music. What I do know is that whenever I use to listen to her in college (I think she was at her peak in the 90’s I think) I knew I was listening to a poet.

    For me the singer and songwriter Shawn Colvin’s album, A Few Small Repairs was my go to album during dark times. The album in my humble opinion is perfection. The lyrics mixed in with her sweet voice is haunting and sweet all at the same time. Sublime would be the word for that album but the song that comes to mind in terms of lyrics and a dark place is Trouble. I’ve included it hear for you. And if you can catch a utube video you’ll get what I mean. Oh, and the second song from that album that totally rocks is The Facts about Jimmy. Love that song.
    Tunes Tuesday is so much fun : )


    Baby let me set you down
    You look so troubled and I think I know
    Just when you think you’ve come around
    There you go

    Now I know the business of the heart
    And it’ll get you anyway it can
    You need someone to walk with in the dark, well
    I’m your man

    I go to the trouble like a magnet
    That’s where I’ll be
    Trouble is just a place to sing
    It’s what you need

    I swear you look like you’re in jail
    And all at once you’re halfway out the door
    One foot dancing, one foot nailed
    To the floor
    [ Lyrics from: ]
    Chasing those circles in the ground
    The same old s*** is still the same old lie
    Just when you think you’ve got it down
    Watch it fly

    I go to the trouble like a light
    Or like a dare
    Trouble is just a friend to me, I know
    It’ll always be there

    It’s really hard to make your peace
    So give me some credit for the hell I’ve paid
    This world’s a blessing and a beast

    So come on baby let me show you how
    The less you know the more I comprehend
    You don’t have to drag me down
    I descend

    I go to the trouble and I like it
    That’s where I’ll be
    Trouble is just like love, if it’s half the way
    It’s all I can see
    And it’s just what you need

  16. OH! I haven’t thought of this song in FOREVER! One of my favourites from her later albums. It gets me … every time.

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