Tuesday, August 2, 2011


YEAR: 1975
LABEL: Columbia
TRACK LISTING: When the Party's Over, At Seventeen, From Me To You, Bright Lights and Promises, In the Winter, Water Colors, Between the Lines, The Come On, Light A Light, Tea & Sympathy, Lover's Lullaby
IMPRESSIONS: Yet another iconic album from my youth originating from my parents' record collection. The 70s singer/songwriter boom was at its height and Janis Ian was right at the forefront in 1975. The immensely personal, confessional songs of "an ugly ducking girl like me" made for compelling listening . . . even for a 9 year old boy who may not have been an "ugly duckling" but was painfully shy. All the songs are quietly operatic (if that's possible) and drenched in stoic misery (a favourite of mine) which makes one wonder why Janis didn't simply turn the gas on instead of writing songs about it. The album was recorded in New York and one gets the sense of bleak wintery weather (particularly on "IN THE WINTER") or a world rushing by ignoring those of us feeling small, insignificant and unloved. A perfect late night album. To be heard in a dark living room lit by one candle and accompanied by cigarettes in an ashtray and an uncorked bottle of Hoop-Dee-Hah in which to drown one's sorrows. A hissing, sputtering radiator would be a plus too.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: When the Party's Over, At Seventeen, From Me To You, In the Winter, Tea & Sympathy
FACT SHEET: Janis Ian came to prominence back in the sixties as a precocious teen who wrote and performed the hit song "Society's Child". BETWEEN THE LINES is Janis Ian's seventh album. It reached #1 on the Billboard chart and her most famous song "AT SEVENTEEN" reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

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