The Album: Ani DiFranco: Little Plastic Castle (1998)
Ani DiFranco has never been a pop star by conventional measure but Little Plastic Castle was her dealing with the costs of stardom within her niche of alternative pop/rock world. The result is what’s considered one of her best albums ever — it ended up being her best-selling at the very least — one where she tries to work through what happens when public scrutiny and fan indignity begin to feel invasive and you wonder what it’s all for. For DiFranco though, she reminds us: she’s got better things to do than survive.
Little Plastic Castle was the pick of our guest, comedian Guy Branum who, until very recently, was the host of the Maximum Fun pop culture panel podcast Pop Rocket (alas, recently cancelled, RIP!). Pre-Heat Rocks, Oliver was on Pop Rocket for two years and got to see, first hand, Guy’s pop polymath skills in action. Taped earlier in the spring, live in front of an audience as part of the Voyager Institute series, the three of us discussed DiFranco’s album within the context of Lilith Fair-era female artists, the politics of queer authenticity and how her invocation of cherry bombs probably doesn’t refer to firecrackers.
More on Guy Branum
More on Little Plastic Castle
- AV Music review
- Theory for Turntables podcast episode about the album
- “Ani DiFranco Takes Chances on ‘Little Plastic Castle’” (MTV News)
Show Tracklisting (all songs from Little Plastic Castle unless indicated otherwise):
- Little Plastic Castle
- Swan Dive
- Ani DiFranco: 32 Flavors
- Two Little Girls
- Glass House
- Swan Dive
- Independence Day
- Dizraeli: Bomb Tesco
About the show
Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.
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