Out of Range marks the end of the first phase of Ani DiFranco's career, not so much in terms of the way she goes about her business (as always, on her own terms) but in terms of her songwriting, arranging, performing, and,... more » to a greater extent than ever before, growing popularity. On Range, for the first time, DiFranco's songs sound like they wouldn't be out of place on the radio (in this case, that's a good thing); on the very first track, "Buildings and Bridges," she expresses herself with greater grace and subtlety than ever before. But the message is still loud and clear: she can take what the world will throw at her, and she will persevere. The rest of the album unfolds along similar lines and often reveals similar treasures. --Randy Silver« less
Out of Range marks the end of the first phase of Ani DiFranco's career, not so much in terms of the way she goes about her business (as always, on her own terms) but in terms of her songwriting, arranging, performing, and, to a greater extent than ever before, growing popularity. On Range, for the first time, DiFranco's songs sound like they wouldn't be out of place on the radio (in this case, that's a good thing); on the very first track, "Buildings and Bridges," she expresses herself with greater grace and subtlety than ever before. But the message is still loud and clear: she can take what the world will throw at her, and she will persevere. The rest of the album unfolds along similar lines and often reveals similar treasures. --Randy Silver
Aaron A. from VIRGINIA BCH, VA Reviewed on 7/15/2012...
If you are an Ani fan you will like this album if you aren't I would suggest getting "Not A Pretty Girl" or "Knuckle Down" first.
Out of range
email@example.com | Seattle, WA | 12/20/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is duly titled, to me, because it leaves all of Ani's other albums "out of range". Every song leads you through a gate, hand held-led by Ani's extremely visual lyrics, to a new world where you either feel the heart-aches or wondermant of being a being of this earth. After listening to all of Ani's albums I return to this album again and again due to it's extremely poignant lyrics. If I could recommend any Ani cd to a new listener this, without a doubt, would be the one!"
My least favorite (overall) early Ani album
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 11/24/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the only early Ani album where I feel like the review I am writing now will be quite different than it would have been had I written it years ago during my initial exposures to it. This is the early Ani album that has held up the least over the years, in my opinion. As is the case with many of Ani's albums, this one has some of her best tunes ever. Performance-wise though, there is something about this album that doesn't hold me as much as her other early ones still do.
That's not to say that it is a bad album at all. Buildings & Bridges, Hell Yeah, and You Had Time are great performances of some of my favorite of her tunes. It's just that in the years since... take Overlap for instance. In terms of commercially available versions, the Overlap on the Living in Clip live 2-disc set renders this Overlap utterly null and void. Not owning Living In Clip would seem (to me) to be the only possible explanation as to why someone would still listen to the version on Out of Range.
Having said that, obviously anyone who is more than just a casual Ani fan should buy this album. Like I said, the 3 songs/performances I listed earlier are great and are not to be missed. Also with more electricity than her previous (at the time) releases, this one is a bit of a glimpse into her future electric bands and evolving aesthetic.
Letter To a John, Overlap, Out of Range, etc...song-wise, the goods are here, it's just that by now there are performances of these great tunes that seem to make these versions sound like nothing more than the jotting down of some ideas that would go on to bloom into perfection at later dates."
One of the Greatest Albums in Decades
Charles R Gigante | 12/03/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Out of range is probably one of the greatest albums (not just ani albums) I have ever heard. While no two songs sound the same, the album is more like a folk symphony. I think this is achieved not through careful editing and sequenceing, but through Ani's innate ability to put her emotions carefully and precisely into her songwriting. Out Of Range has a continuity found rarely in her contemporaries. Now, the individual songs...where can one start? Buildings and Bridges has a lyric so profound that it leaves the listener barely able to escape a few days of serious soul searching. Hearing this song live was one of my life's highlights. 'Letter to a john' is a staple song at any ani show. And with good reason. It explores the traumatic life of a stripper while providing an inspirational door through which independence can be reached. Listen. It will explain much better than I can. 'Face Up and Sing' is a calling to women to basically grow up in their 'efforts' for feminism. 'Hell Yeah' is my favorite by far, though. I can only repeat our favorite folkster, "Life is a B-Movie, it's stupid and it's strange. It's a directionless story, and the dialougue is lame. But in the 'he-said, she-said, sometimes there's some poetry,if you turn your back long enough, and let it happen naturally. Oh yeah. Hell yeah.""
Right on target!
RichReactions | 10/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Out of Range is an exercise in musical, lyrical, and vocal subtlety by Ani DiFranco. By the time she announces in track 5 that her reference to "two tree limbs" is "a metaphor, if you know what I mean", you've already been drawn into a subliminal lyrical journey quite nicely; the songs are about real life without gloss. The music is pure delight, with sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment dominating many of the songs -- she sometimes resorts to gently plucking the notes of the same chord repeatedly, but deftly avoids becoming monotonous and dull-sounding when she does this. Her simple acoustic moments work perfectly in setting up the explosive moments of electric-guitar playing (and horn playing on one track) that pepper the CD. The lady sings slow ballads and fast rockers with a youthful-McCartney-like adeptness. She is superb.
I like every track on this CD but I wish to comment on two specific songs. With wonderful percussion and a 3-piece horn section accompaniment, "How Have You Been" explodes from the speakers. The raucous music superbly supports the raucous attitude of a lyric about a disenchanted lover. "You Had Time" is an unusual track because it has a gorgeous, two-minute-long, piano introduction that quietly alerts the listener that something important and significant is up. The extended intro seems to represent either a period of meditation and contemplation or the period of loss felt in a dying relationship. The lyric touches on the conflict one feels when one person in a relationship senses that something is missing while the other person believes that they've found bliss. By the way, in my opinion, Ani's lyrics on Out of Range are gender neutral and can be related to by heterosexual people. Don't believe anyone who tells you differently.
You may consider Ani DiFranco's voice on Out of Range to be either exquisite or quirky (depending on your personal taste in vocals) but it is, undeniably, a fascinating mixture of mature sound and childlike sound; she absolutely avoids the annoying childlike-sound of some recent female pop singers. Early in her career, Ani was categorized as a folk singer (note: the local Coconuts Music Store near my home has Ani DiFranco's CDs in its tiny "Folk" section). The "Folk" tag has stuck with her despite the fact that the lady really hits her stride with a very funky rock and jazz-rock style.
Although Ani DiFranco has oft been compared to specific female folkies and rockers, her sound on Out of Range is a synthesis of many who came before her: Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell, Edie Brickell, Suzane Vega, Natalie Merchant (who, like Ani, hails from western New York) and even Debbi Harry (on the fast songs), to name but a few. It seems to me that Ms. DiFranco has had an influence on the likes of Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Lisa Loeb, Tori Amos, Rachael Sage, and many others, although her relative obscurity may make that contention an implausible and impossible one in most cases.
Out of Range is an excellent album. If you like vivid melodies, subtle narrative lyrics, and Ani's voice, you should add Out of Range to your music collection."