Neko Case has always been outspoken, but the firey-haired beauty takes it to another level in her new album, “The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.” The adventurous record explores a deeply difficult time in Case’s life, when she was struggling with depression, identity issues, and the death of both parents. She explains: “I just want people to feel like I was straight with them, and messy, because I just let go and trusted them completely.”
“The Worse Things Get” is clearly the most personal of all Case’s albums, with songs like “Man,” an unusually aggressive tune about overturning gender roles and females place in society; Case growling: “I’m a man’s man / Always been / Make no mistake / I’ve invested in / A woman’s heart / It’s the watermark / Of which I measure / Everything.” Tracks like “City Swan” have a heartbreakingly romantic feel to them, perfectly mixed in with a hint of her former twangy country roots.
Case turns the tables on her frustration with calming coffee shop songs such as “Afraid,” which tells a story about her (and other girls) number of insecurities while growing up, and how to overcome the anxiety that plagues her. “I’m From Nowhere” and “Calling Cards” have a similar sound, but no less deep lyrical content, with Case’s thoughtful musings provoking contemplation in the listener long after the songs have ended.
Although Ms. Case conquers multiple subjects, tempos, and lyrical stylings in “The Worst Things Get,” one thing never waivers: her voice. Neko manages to completely enrapture listeners with her voice’s husky timbre and heartfelt warmth throughout every track, and is easily some of her best work to date. Well done, Neko!