Truckdriver Gladiator Mule compiles Neko Case’s entire solo discography from 1997-2013 on vinyl, issued in a handsome collector’s box complete with an 80-page, self-curated photo book, and an illustrated turntable slipmat. A highly influential songwriter possessing one of rock’s most commanding voices, Case’s evolution from robust, old-time country throwback to noirish, indie auteur plays out over the course of eight remastered LPs. Reissued by Anti Records, this set contains her six studio albums, The Virginian (1997), Furnace Room Lullaby (2000), Blacklisted (2002), Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (2006), Middle Cyclone (2009), and The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (2013). Also included are Case’s 2001 Canadian Amp EP and the 2004 live album The Tigers Have Spoken.
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You (2013)
On her last album, Middle Cyclone, Neko Case sung about creatures snuffling, frogs and tornadoes, the beauty of ancient nature and our inner animals. Her Attenborough-inspired artistry won her two Grammy nominations in 2009 as well as thrusting her into the glare of the mainstream. So will the singer’s sixth album continue the wave of acclaim, given that it’s largely about loneliness and death? The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You charts the internal minefield of childhood, love, and loss by way of power pop, classic rock, folk and Motown. The album emerges from a three-year period Case describes as full of “grief and mourning,” in the wake of the deaths of many close to her.
“I fought hard against the feeling of grief all my life,” she says, “but about three years ago I finally had to give in and mourn the dead. I had to look inward more than I wanted. It was sobering, and I often felt like I was blurring the lines of mental illness. When I stopped fighting it,” she adds, “it took me where I needed to go.”
Whether she’ll ever come back from the blue remains to be seen. But in the meantime, have a listen and let us know what you think.