I recently rediscovered one of my favorite albums from the ‘70s, Janis Ian’s brilliant, confessional Between the Lines. I’ve listened to it so many times over the years that I have every song memorized.
Listening to it anew, though, I found myself offering commentary on the lyrics, courtesy of the knowledge garnered from living a few more years. For example, in the song “The Come On”, Janis opens with the line, “I haven’t been loved by a man in quite a while”. I couldn’t help answering the CD player in my car with “That’s because you’re a lesbian!” During “In the Winter”, she tells her ex, “Lovely wife/You have a lovely wife”, yet it’s easy for me to picture her talking to another woman.
Of course, such thoughts weren’t in my head the first time I heard the album, since Ian had yet to come out. In fact, five years after Between the Lines’ release, she married a man. (Since divorced, she has married long-time partner, Patricia Snyder.) Her sole recognition prior to that had been 1967’s “Society’s Child”, about a girl involved in an interracial relationship with a black boy in a time when such things weren’t done; the song went Top 40 when Ian was just 16.
Ian’s 1976’s Between the Lines marked a commercial high, garnering her a Grammy nomination for Best Album and reaching number one on Billboard charts, while single “At Seventeen” climbed to number three and won Ian the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal and a nomination for Best Song. In subsequent years, she has released over a dozen albums, as well as recorded songs for the films The Bell Jar and Foxes; although not a “pop star”, Ian has built and kept a loyal fan base.
Complete article at Pop Matters : http://bit.ly/prAooX