Whereas on Little Plastic Castle Ani DiFranco questioned her public image in song, here the fiercely independent singer/songwriter turns away from stardom's beckoning questions to further explore her emotional balance. "An... more »gry Anymore" is a back-porch country song (with banjo and accordion) about coming to terms with a turbulent adolescence. "Everest" floats by as a reverie of spiritual rejuvenation. Most effective is "'Tis of Thee," which deals with racial injustice. The politics are oversimplified, but the melody is one of DiFranco's strongest. She even funks it up on the extended drum-machine-driven jam "Hat Shaped Hat." But while DiFranco enjoys playing around ("Know Now Then" features a "space phone" vocal), she's strongest when most contemplative, as the title track bears out. Backed by organ, piano, and guitar, she espouses this grand truth: "Half of learning how to play / Is learning what not to play." In her quietest moments DiFranco is living proof of simplicity's great power. --Rob O'Connor« less
Whereas on Little Plastic Castle Ani DiFranco questioned her public image in song, here the fiercely independent singer/songwriter turns away from stardom's beckoning questions to further explore her emotional balance. "Angry Anymore" is a back-porch country song (with banjo and accordion) about coming to terms with a turbulent adolescence. "Everest" floats by as a reverie of spiritual rejuvenation. Most effective is "'Tis of Thee," which deals with racial injustice. The politics are oversimplified, but the melody is one of DiFranco's strongest. She even funks it up on the extended drum-machine-driven jam "Hat Shaped Hat." But while DiFranco enjoys playing around ("Know Now Then" features a "space phone" vocal), she's strongest when most contemplative, as the title track bears out. Backed by organ, piano, and guitar, she espouses this grand truth: "Half of learning how to play / Is learning what not to play." In her quietest moments DiFranco is living proof of simplicity's great power. --Rob O'Connor
"So Everyone is all excited about Ani's new album and some people think she's crap and some people think she's God Herself. I think people are getting confused on what exactly selling out means. Live appearances on TV and radio airplay does not mean she is selling out. It's actually pretty incredible that she can gain the kind of FameInterviewsMagazinecovers that she has purely from touring and word of mouth (something that Tori Amos was barely able to do, even with the help of a major record label's financial support). No, this is not Ani's best album. Not nearly as emotional, beautiful and striking as OUT OF RANGE and NOT A PRETTY GIRL, her two best albums. It does not have the simplistic acoustic sound or folk melodies of LIKE I SAID or IMPERFECTLY. It does not have the novelty of DILATE and LITTLE PLASTIC CASTLE, her two previous studio albums that brought a new distinctive sound to her older formula. But that's just it, she's had her fun with novelties. What's she supposed to do, come out with a jazz CD just to sound new? How about hip hop or country? In a way she has already done that. And now she can move on. The new sounds we heard on the last two studio albums can be heard on UPUPUPUPUPUP, and you know what? I bet Ani doesn't care that she's not sounding new or novel. She's about making a living off of doing what she loves (writing and performing honest music), not trying to please critics. The critics came to HER, hailed her as new an innovative and now they are tired and will move onto their LatestDiscovery, disappointed that she has not come up with a GreatAlbumThatWillGoDownInMusicalHistory.Anyone who knows Ani, knows that her music is mainly about being live. She is at her finest on stage, complete with flaws and mistakes. Those of you who want a portrait of just the singer, buy LIVING IN CLIP. If you want a portrait of the SONGS, then buy the studio albums. UPUPUPUPUPUP is merely a continuation of what she has always been doing. She started as a folksinger, and she still is a folksinger (and she will probably always be a folksinger). Whether she is back to simple melodies on "Tis of Thee" or "Everest" (Jewel-esque, as some people disdainfully proclaim), or she is getting a little country with "Angry Anymore," she is STILL a folksinger. She may use vocal distortion and keyboards on "Jukebox," but she is just as funky as she was on "The Diner" back in her OUT OF RANGE days. As for the critics and former fans who constantly gripe that she's "gone off writing about love... she's lost her politics" . . . all I have to say to you is what do you think "Both Hands" is about? "Both Hands"... her signature tune and all-time favorite of die-hards? It's a love song. What about "Falling like this" and "Hell Yeah" and "This Bouquet" and "Sorry I Am" (I could go on...)? You think she's lost her politics? Gosh, you're right! "Tis of Thee" must NOT be about racism! "Come Away" must NOT be about drug addiction! "Trickle Down" must NOT be about corporate power! Gimme a break. The very title song is about politics. To be honest, I did not take to UPUPUPUPUPUP at first. But after several listenings I realized that she is doing what she has always done. She's documenting her live material onto an album. She's being creative in reinterpreting her own songs. She's being uninhibited. She's being a folksinger. And that's fine with me."
Jon | 10/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let me start out by saying: this is an incredible album. It has more of a jam feel than any of her other albums, and you can just hear her and the band having fun. But now let me say that I am tired of hearing the old die hard fans complain that her music has "changed," that she's not "folk-punk" anymore, and that this album isn't any good.Ani's music is growing, and we should be happy to be able to witness the evolution. Where her lyrics used to be brilliant because they were raw and in your face, starting with this album, her ideas get more complex, her metaphors take a few lines to unfold, her melodies are more complicated...This album will always be one of my favorites because it feels free, spontaneous, and innocent. It also marks the real beginning, I think, of her music with the band. Again, a great album from a great artist...even if she isn't still making the same music she did when she was 19!"
Another favorite Ani Difranco album
Erica Anderson | Minneapolis, MN | 01/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It has been awhile since I popped in "Up Up Up Up Up Up". My taste in music has changed drastically over the years. I am not the big Ani Difranco fan that I used to be. Eight years ago, I used to buy her cds on the day that they were released. My how times have changed. Still I respect Ani immensely for her DIY ethics and eschewing corporate America when it comes to her music. Next to "Little Plastic Castles" and "Dilate", "Up Up Up Up Up Up" is one of my favorite Ani Difranco cds. Songs like "Angry Any More" and "'Tis of Thee" really speaks to me lyrically. Unlike her earlier work, "Up Up Up Up Up Up" incorporates other different instruments other than Ani's traditional fierce guitar playing. The banjo, the organ, piano, and bass all adds a different layer of sound to Ani's music and gives her music new life. I personally love "Up Up Up Up Up Up". It is different from Ani's earlier music but I think it is still as good."
Ani breaks her own mold, again!
fyrekitt | 12/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been an Ani fan since "Ani DiFranco" (1990). When I heard "both hands" it touched me in a way no other artist has since Tori Amos. I have followed her progression through the years, and the problem many Ani fans have with "Up Up Up Up Up Up" struck me at first as well. Ani has been progressively moving out of folk into funk-rock right up to Little Plastic Castles"(LPC) So, not surprisingly, you might expect this to take it a step further, instead she seems to take a breather and try to be heard the best by wispering. Don't buy this CD expecting LPC: part 2, you will be dissapointed. Buy this CD expecting what Ani is best at: ruthless, naked, honesty. You might even want to go back to her roots and listen to her earlier music before listening to this, it's a more subtle transistion."
UP6 is worth your time
miki302 | Aurora, IL | 10/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I can agree with some that this is not Ani's best or even most accessible album, I must add that this is a beautiful album. As a huge Ani fan, I rushed out to buy this one and was stragenly disappointed...it sat on my bookshelf for months until I revisited it. I found some wonderful songs, beautiful language, and above all, the trademark earnestness that Ani Difranco is so famous for. While I can't say this is my favorite Ani album, I really respect the chances she takes and the trust she puts in her audience to come along for the ride. Not necessarily a must-have, but a must-listen. If you're looking for the angriness you find on other albums, it's not present here as it is on NAPG. If you're looking for a bouncy, catchy CD like Little Plastic Castle, it's not here. But if you want to listen to Ani's ever-maturing sound, this is a great album to start with ...most longtime Ani fans would agree. Her newer stuff is such a departure from her early work, it's finally refreshing to see an artist take strides to refine and experiment with her own sound, rather than rely on what she already knows works so well. That is truly what makes Ms D stand out: her willingness to forget the format and just play, for her own enjoyment as well as her audience's."