The more i listen to upX6, the more i want to listen to this
Brian King | 05/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i own all of ani's albums, and until recently, i didn't really like this album as a whole. I really dug "She Says" "Gratitude" "Roll With It" and "Brief Bus Stop" but couldn't really appreciate this album. But now when I listen to UpX6, all I can do is regret that I didn't appreciate this album when i got it. I still don't like the concert staple "Anticipate" but there is something so simple, so beautiful, and so rhythmic in these earlier Ani albums that seems to be missing in her newer work. These days I can't seem to let a day pass without listening to "Small World" a song that i once skipped. Amazing guitar work, beautiful poetry, absolute heartfelt emotion. Ani says that she loves what she does, and at the point in her career when this album was written, it is true. it's impossible not to see. these days though......i dunno. it seems a little tired and forced. I recommend this album if you're "looking for the holes" in your music collection"
Ani at her best
Steven Cochrane | Baltimore, MD | 07/29/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first Ani album I ever got was Upx6, and I loved it, and wondered why many of her older fan's didn't, so I bought Not So Soft and listened to it. Now I know why, they've been spoiled."
"it's better to be dusty than polished"
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of Ani's classic albums, this isn't one to skip. I sometimes wonder what Ani now thinks of her earlier albums such as this one. Always an intellectual with soul and compassion, she can't help but to have grown as a person since the release of her earlier albums. I wonder if she herself still relates to all her earlier songs the way she once did. I know I do. Most people at age 40 can't even write songs with the depth and emotional power of these songs, so it makes it even all the more impressive to think how young Ani was when she wrote these.
I assume over the years she has outgrown (or at least doesn't really enjoy performing) some of her older songs, but in the case of some of these great songs, I just think maybe she is so prolific that she just doesn't remember her own songs anymore. Roll With It is one example I'm thinking of here. I should look up some recent setlists to see if she has played this one at all in the past couple years. Over 10-years-old now, Roll With It has never (since it was written) been more appropriate to the USA's current mess than it is right now. This song deserves to be performed again if it has been years since she last brought it out.
Anticipate, Roll With It, Gratitude, The Whole Night, Next Big Thing, etc... this album has everything a classic Ani album has... lyrics that will pull you together, lyrics that will break you down, great guitar playing, and expressive singing. Not So Soft itself, always one of her best spoken-word pieces was great when first unveiled here, but now that there have been so many fantastic, yet drastically different live variations of it, this studio one doesn't have the impact it once had. The words are still perfect, but in the years since, it has been delivered better elsewhere."
It's Actually Nice and Soft! (Smart too)
bethtexas | United States | 06/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ironically, given the title, this is one of Ani DiFranco's softest albums! It's very good. Acoustic, simple and honest -- it predates some of her more passionate folk/rock, and tremendously predates her synthesized stuff. Songs like ROCKABYE are gentle, soothing -- but of course, always intelligent! This one reminds us to that we all need to comfort ourselves sometimes. GRATITUDE is an honest look at date rape -- that actually manages to be humorous. I know that seems impossible, but Ani can pull it off! I won't give away the joke -- it's too good the first time you hear it. I don't want to spoil. This is one of those albums you'd say is 'one of the best out there' if it were made by someone else. But since it's Ani DiFranco, and she's made too many outstanding ones even to count -- it makes it tempting to say she can do even better. But you can't deny it's an absolute keeper!So glad I have it."