Janis Ian FRED De VAN - Essay


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The elusive Janis Ian "Queen of the melodic bittersweet" has again emerged into the public eye as a major artist. Her introspective, self-evaluation type lyrics have finally found their time and audience…. [Her] images of love are both full-blown and cautiously sultry. Her images touch on areas that in one way or another exist in all of us. Her love songs are a full indication of this maturation.

The songs in Between The Lines are all strong, and total good taste is to be found in every note and word on the record. (p. 82)

In Aftertones, her music like her words, is the work of a serious musical artist, charged with the competence of a committed energetic artist…. The album is eloquent, she gets it all on.

Aftertones is her only album without a "supersong," yet it hangs together so well as to be enchanting from start to finish. This Must Be Wrong, Aftertones, Belle Of The Blues, Don't Cry Old Man and Hymn all have that look of whimsy, warmth and wisdom that has always been a part of this young woman. Each song on the album has its own special magic. Janis Ian has emerged from a puckish, arrogant kid to a real stand-up and take-notice artist. (pp. 82-3)

Fred De Van, "The Column: 'Between the Lines' and 'Aftertones'," in Audio (© 1976, CBS Publications, The Consumer Publishing Division of CBS Inc.), Vol. 60, No. 6, June, 1976, pp. 82-3.