“A Feminist Manifesto” begins with “Ballerina”, a spicy track that soars on the back of some sizzling horns. O’Neill’s vocals during “Ballerina” benefit from challenging time signatures and a style that touches upon pop, rock, and even country and blues in their execution. What is one of the most exciting sides of “A Feminist Manifesto” has to be the inclusion of stellar musicians to lay down the instrumental backdrop for O’Neill’s lyrics. “Tiffany” benefits through the inclusion of a ropy bass line and punchy drums, both of which keep perfect time with the rapid shifts present. What O’Neill does on “A Feminist Manifesto” is not only political; it looks to break down what listeners expect from music. By adding different constellations of musicians, styles, and breathing / vocal approaches, O’Neill’s work here is nothing less than revolutionary.
“What A Way” closes up the album, and shows O’Neill as a musician that can be enjoyed on a number of distinct levels. Where listeners can hear and follow the narration provided the track by the vocals, it is also interesting to hear how O’Neill’s vocals act as an additional instrument for the track. What results with this joined composition is one of the fullest arrangements heard on “A Feminist Manifesto”, and is one of the disc’s best tracks as a result.
Heather O’Neill’s work during the entirety of “A Feminist Manifesto” is vibrant and always interesting. The compositions may be fairly clear, but they contain enough material to keep listeners focused into the disc through countless listens. If you would like to think while listening to music, pick up “A Feminist Manifesto” today; I believe that it will be seen as a blueprint for other musicians that wish to break free from the tyranny of inertia. From “Ballerina” all the way out until “What A Way”, I believe that this may be one of the best albums of the year so far.
Top Tracks: Ballerina, Bluebird
Heather O’Neill – A Feminist Manifesto (CD) / 2011 Self / 6 Tracks / http://www.myspace.com/heatheroneillmusic