“Curse of the I-5 Corridor”
After five years, Neko Case has released what might be the best album of her career. This is magnificent, the way Case has these beautiful, light, singable melodies, all the while singing songs of misery, longing, failure, and triumph. A perfect example is the beautiful centerpiece of the album, “Curse of the 1-5 Corridor” where she has the perfect line: “I fucked all the men I wanted to be.” As Max Savage Levenson states so well:
Hell-On is clearly Case’s vision—she handled the album’s production, as well—but she’s enlisted a murderer’s row of collaborators to help her realize it: k.d. lang, Laura Veirs, A.C. Newman, and Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan all make appearances. Yet instead of coming across as scattershot or overly busy, the collective effort gives Hell-On the feel of a zany, extended family vacation; even when she’s digging into the depths of her own misery … ,Case and company can’t help but saturate these songs with sunny arrangements that belie the lyrics’ harsh realities.
After being so disappointed with many artists this year, it is such a relief that Case did not let me know. What a great album.