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Music Review: Neko Case - The Worse Things Get ...

Neko Case cover 

Neko Case
The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You
Available now on Anti-

It’s now been four-plus years since Neko Case’s last album, 2009’s breakthrough Middle Cyclone, a collection that catapulted Case from indie-rock heroine to mainstream “name” with a Q Score. Debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200, it earned her two Grammy nominations and more rave reviews than all of her past work with the New Pornographers, the Corn Sisters, and as a solo artist. 

Thus, the anticipation for her new album—The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You—has been long and loud. Which mirrors the creation process for Case. “My brain wilderness is more dense and dangerous than I thought,” she explains. “It was an embarrassing and hilarious march, but I now feel like a more streamlined being. It’s a good feeling. Four years of my life took 10 years hostage, then gave me back 12.”

The result is a tough, proud, powerful album that’s simply stunning from start to stop. As she states on the teaser single, “Man,” “I’m not your identity crisis/This was planned.”

Case’s band is bare bones but to the point, crafting rock riffs that shimmer and glow. Throughout, Case’s lyrics are more sure, more poetic, more resonant than ever before. The coda to “Man” sums it up: “And if I’m dipshit drunk on the pink perfume/I am the man in the fucking moon/’Cause you didn’t know what a man was/Until I showed you.”