“Man” by Neko Case
On her last album, Middle Cyclone, Neko Case sang, “I’m an animal / you’re an animal, too.” In the song “Man,” on her new album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, she announces: “I’m a man . . . it’s what kind of animal I am.” Case appears mustached next to a horse in the image that accompanies the “Man” video: here again, man and animal. Or man = animal? Are Case’s animality and masculinity related to the sheer virile badassery she displays when telling a rude concertgoer who hurls a CD at New Pornographers bandmate Carl Newman, “Whoever threw that, come up here, I will fucking fight you”? Music critics often describe Case as “a force of nature.” Gorgeous and foul-mouthed, earthy and ethereal, spooky and comforting—these are just some of the paradoxes that come to mind when I think about Neko, whose songs are without category and out of time, defying gender, genre, and species.
Becca Klaver is the author of the poetry collection LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010) and several chapbooks, including Nonstop Pop (Bloof Books, 2013) and Merrily, Merrily (Lame House Press, 2013). She is a PhD candidate in English at Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
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