Animal music

Carl Wilson says Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone is the “only animal-rights album ever made that doesn’t suck” in his year-end roundup for Slate.

here the force of nature is the power of sexuality, especially the feminine kind, as in the ruling metaphor of “This Tornado Loves You.” And in “People Got a Lotta Nerve,” she sings, “I’m a man-man-maneater,” a line that from someone of her generation can’t help but be a reference to Hall & Oates’ portrait of a femme fatale, drawing a parallel between sexist objectification and speciesist anthropomorphization. But it’s also an illusionless take on gender, that just recognizing our equality doesn’t prevent us from being human, which is to say being animals, fearful and irrational, lustful, weak, and cruel. And entertainingly ridiculous. It’s thanks to the sheer sensual capacity of her voice that Case can be this life-negating and still make you glad to be alive to hear it.


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