Hell-On by Neko Case.

Neko Case has had a series of great albums, from “Blacklisted” through “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You”. Her last project was the trio including herself, k.d. lang, and Laura Veirs.

We saw Case/Lang/Veirs perform and it was obvious that playing with a performer like k.d. lang and a songwriter like Laura Veirs was making Neko a little insecure about her own art and performance strategies.

On Hell-On she is stretching herself in every possible way. As a songwriter, these are some of her most literary songs every. As an arranger, these are some of the most complex arrangement she has ever written. As a singer, she is stretching to do new things with her voice.

The risk of stretching that much, however, is that you might break.

While Hell-On has its moments, a lot of the time it feels a bit broken.

I would say, if there is a touchstone here, it is her cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me” from Middle Cyclone. It feels like she is channelling a bit of that dissolute 70s songwriter’s spirit on “Hell-On”. 

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #NekoCase #HellOn