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Janis Ian
"Between The Lines"

© Columbia

January 27 - 02, 2019

Year of Release: 1975
Rating:
  • When The Party's Over
  • At Seventeen
  • From Me To You
  • Bright Lights And Promises
  • In The Winter
  • Water Colors
  • Between The Lines
  • The Come On
  • Light A Light
  • Tea And Sympathy
  • Lover's Lullaby

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    There are few songs that would make myself absolutely cringe when I hear them... One of them was Janis Ian's 1975 hit, "At Seventeen." This song would have to be one of the most BORING songs ever recorded. Yet it was a huge hit, and the album it was from Between The Lines hit #1 on the Billboard Albums chart, and also it's Adult Contemporary singles chart. It was played constantly on the radio back then, and as many songs like it, it had to be played numerous times on popular radio stations, as like the other hits (good, bad or boring), they had to be played. Many DJs would turn down the sound while the songs played. And "At Seventeen" would be one of them.

    Obviously, I did have have Between The Lines on vinyl back then, but as I listen to this album with an open mind, despite the boring hit mentioned, I would have to say that this album is worth listening to. I'm glad to say the other songs were not as boring. The album is quite good. Probably because today's music is just not as good-to-great as the 1970s decade of music was. But Janis Ian's music on Between The Lines shapes from a lot of comparisons to many other popular and well-liked music artists.

    One of those comparisons would be Carly Simon. The opening track, "When The Party's Over" has a similiarity to Simon, yet more to the likes of another great female singer/diva, Barbra Streisand. "Bright Light And Promises" is definitely a song worth enjoying, with it's almost jazz piano sound. And as I listen to this great particular tune, another great female diva comes to mind, and that is Carole King. This song is definitely a highlight. Streisand, and Judy Collins' "Send In The Clowns" comes to mind when I hear "Water Colors." Blind Faith (with Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood) is a huge comparison to "From Me To You."

    The title track, and "The Come On" has a distinct darker sound in style, yet these are songs that either Carly Simon or Barbara Streisand can be compared to. Carly Simon, likewise another popular Simon - Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel gets the comparison on "Light A Light." More of Simon & Garfunkel's folk sound and Juice Newton's "Angel Of The Morning" gets the compare on "Tea And Sympathy." The closing song, "Lover's Lullaby" gets the comparisons of both Carole King and Juice Newton.

    Between The Lines gets great comparisons to many great musical artists. And another artist to mention, Joan Baez. Janis Ian's has a distinctive and well-sung voice. Her other big hit was "Society's Child." in 1967. This is one song I really didn't remember. The song's lyrics regarding interracial romance just may have been the cause, as it was considered taboo for popular radio station formats. But thanks to musical conductor Leonard Bernstein, he featured this song on his CBS TV Special, Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. "At Seventeen" lyrics related to teenage angst, teenage adoelescent cruelty; being the "ugly duckling." (Most of the songs on this album were of not-so-pleasant lyrics.) Throughout the next 4 decades (her latest in 2014), she did release more albums, but none were as popular as her two songs she would be known for -- "Society's Child" and "At Seventeen." After an abusive marriage, she was divorced from Portugese filmmaker Tino Sargo in 1983, after 5 years of marriage. She met Patricia Snyder in 1989, and she announced she was a lesbian in 1993. She married Snyder in 2003. Ian has a stepdaughter, and 2 grandchildren with Snyder.

    Janis Ian's Between The Lines is a definitely an enjoyalbe album, and would be more accepted today, despite how today's music just isn't as appealing as it was once. "At Seventeen" does blend well with the album, and still, as I listen to this song, I still remember how it was back in 1975, and how this song was so boring to listen to, and overplayed on the radio time and time again. By all means, it is an album for a relaxing atmosphere. Just decide for yourself, for those who do remember the big hit off this album, you may, or may not want to hit the skip button when that big hit starts playing. In fact, I can listen to it now, and I just laugh, and remember how irritaing this song used to be.




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