This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
“I’m a dying breed,” croons Neko Case on her new CD Blacklisted. I’m not sure I agree.
Granted, there aren’t many out there like the wonderful Neko, an alt-country bombshell blessed with a heaven-sent voice and a sinfully wonderful way of putting it to use. But she sure doesn’t sound anywhere near her last legs on this 14-track marvel. Indeed, Blacklisted is her most honest and real work to date. Writing most of the tunes herself for the first time, Neko delivers these unconventional, powerful confessions of fear, seduction and loneliness with a natural, easy openness, restraining her voice instead of just belting everything out like she used to. Some tasteful underproduction and a crack backing band featuring members of The Sadies, Calexico and Giant Sand help focus the emotions behind Case’s work and drive home the dusty, haunted intimacy of these works, but as always, Neko is the star of the show. And Blacklisted is the show that moves her beyond the ranks of talented reinterpreter and into the realm of singer-songwriter artistry. Dying breed? Don’t buy it — she’s never sounded stronger.