Q's Top 20: #9 - Neko Case

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Neko Case swoops into the #9 spot on Q's Top 20 Albums of 2013 for her very intimate The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.

The striking tattoos she now sports on her forearms - "Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky" - are taken from the title of a painting by the influential west coast artist Emily Carr. Those words speak to her determination, as does this latest record, the product of a period of loss, grief, depression and self-exploration.

But what you hear on The Worse Things Get... is far from a self-indulgent downer. It's an uplifting, inspiring, straight-talking and yet poetic document of struggle and survival. It might be Neko Case's most diverse-sounding record too... sometimes hauntingly spare and lyrical, at other times grand and lush, and at still others, propulsive and triumphant.

You get the sense that if she could emerge from her own shadows with this kind of strength, there must be hope for the rest of us. There's a true sense of an artist at the centre of this woman's work. Her songs are profound. But they never feel pretentious. And given her amazing output in recent years, it's saying a lot to say that this may be one of her best albums to date.

Stream Neko Case's latest session in studio Q above, and watch her performances below.


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