Some Real and Definitely Not Made Up Ani DiFranco B-Sides

No one knows how this happened, but the first time you came out to someone between 1990 and 2005, there was a person waiting just outside of the conversation ready to hand you a set of headphones playing Ani DiFranco. For me, “32 Flavors” was playing. I don’t know how it’s decided who gets what song, but wow is there ever a list from which to choose.

Ani DiFranco was so prolific in the 90s lesbian scrapbooking scene that I’m going to ballpark her discography at 900 songs (all of them killing it in the name department, some personal favorites being “Dog Coffee” and “Hat Shaped Hat”), and that’s not even counting b-sides. But as most b-sides go, Ani DiFranco’s are often overlooked, which is a shame, because they are equally moving. Let’s check out some of those b-sides, which are real and definitely not made up:

She Ate A Bird Why

Blring Goes My String

Kokopelli (How Dare You)

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Slouch Hat

The Shame Chant

Educate Yourself In My Pregnant Pause And Body

No

Menstraisch

Mc Skat Cat (Wish I Could)

Distant Yelling

The Tin That Goes Doop

Jamie, Leesa, Angie

Panic Melody

Brandywine (Dip In The Slackline)

Everybody Shut Up

Trim Them

Inattention Is Attention

Mother Probiotic

Crack An EGG On Your Head Let The Yolk Run Down (People Dying Children Crying)

Ban Dogs I Ban You

Hoolahooped

Leather Dangle Necklace

Fertility Godless

Yeah No Shit, Mark

Falling Down As A Prelude

Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

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22 Comments

    • My college ex wrote out the lyrics to Untouchable Face for me the last time we saw each other. The accompanying explanation was like “I’m not trying to be mean! It just reminds me of you!”

  1. Great list, three things:

    1) Pretty sure “Crack an Egg (People Dying, Children Crying)” is Tracy Chapman. Maybe it was a cover. Idk.

    2) Kind of surprised you missed “T.E.R.F. War” and “Tic Tac NO.” I guess those were more 2000ish, though.

    3) Think mine was “If he tries anything.” That was long ago enough that I think it was on tape. Scary.

  2. It was late 1997, I was going to University and I stumbled on to a flyer advertising the campus LBGTQ+ group. It was huge for me, I came from a small town and I was questioning my gender since I was a child. Anyways they helped me realize I was trans but they also introduced me to Ani DiFranco. I bought all of her cd’s that the music store in the mall had. A few years later my cousin came out to me as I burned off some Ani DiFranco for her.

  3. I had recently discovered my queerness and was burning through all the lesbian content that Netflix had to offer. This was around 4 years ago? I’m pretty sure I was watching Bloomington and that’s when I heard 32 Flavors and Ani DiFranco for the first time. One of my personal favorites is “pick yer nose”.

  4. This made me very nostalgic. I’ve slacked off in the last several years but her music was so important to me and I have like, nine or ten of her albums. She’s so darn prolific!

  5. I was assigned “Both Hands” as my coming out song and I embraced it wholeheartedly. Thinking back on it, though, I would like to apologize to all the people who had to suffer through me singing it at the top of my lungs every time I got in the car.

  6. oh god one friend told me not knowing any ani was cause to revoke my license to lesbian and another LOCKED ME IN HER CAR WHILE WE WERE GOING 70 MILES AN HOUR AND FORCED ME TO LISTEN TO HER.

    none of this swayed me from my initial, correct, impression that ani difranco is the fuckin’ worst

    (like, i recognize her importance in helping women be their best selves, but WHY DOES HER GUITAR HAVE TO SOUND SO BADDDDDDDD please dont @ me )

  7. Came out in 2001 and the first girl I was into, the first girl I ever kissed, was the one to introduce me to Ani. I remember driving around with her during our freshmen year of college and she knew all the words to Fuel and I thought she was just SO COOL. The song School Night reminds me of our eventual break up (one whole week later). Shameless reminds me of coming out. Untouchable Face reminds me of a poorly timed crush I had on my best friend right after she got her first serious girlfriend and Two Little Girls reminds me of my first real girlfriend and Educated Guess reminds me of my relationship with my family after coming out. To this day, Dilate still reminds me of the girl I was in love with in high school. Like someone said above, it’s impossible to separate my coming out from my obsession with Ani. She is part of my history.

  8. So true. For me, the best B-side was “Thos Bouquet” from Not a Pretty Girl

    got a garden of songs where i grow all my thoughts
    wish i could harvest one or two for some small talk
    i’m always starving for words when you’re around
    nothing on my tongue so much in my ground…

    But if I had a beer in my hand and time to think, I could probably add ten more to the list. Fire Door, Both Hands. The Slant.The Diner… (esp the jam on the live album…)

  9. Get out of my life!!

    LITERALLY the first day I ever came out went like this: 16 year old me, in the dorm room of the only lesbian couple my age I know. Somehow topic of queer things comes up. I take a huge breath and manage to squeak out “…I’m bi”.

    Within the next hour they play Sleater-Kinney at me, I eventually come out from the pillow I’d been hiding behind and then am the recipient of Many Hugs, and then they take me for a walk around campus where they point out all the other queermos.

    Including: sitting on a grassy knoll, a girl with short dyed red hair, singing Shy.

    I. Kid. You. Not.

    (cue, of course, the first new crush of my newly-out life)

  10. Oh man, I purchased Living in Clip during a class trip to D.C. in the 8th grade and listened to it over and over on the bus ride home to my tiny town in rural Michigan. I already owned Not a Pretty Girl but hearing her live and feeling all my adolescent feels (I was a very early bloomer!) is a feeling I remember almost two decades later whenever I hear anything from those CDs.

    Also, it’s really nice to hear other people talk about Ani, she’s so prolific that I couldn’t keep up with her later stuff and then it seemed like she was written off entirely for her decision to play a plantation (after which she came to her senses and dropped out — I didn’t follow it too closely but it seemed like she had some learning to do but eventually did).

  11. I came out shortly after the start of my freshman year of college. A girl who lived across the hall from me lent me Dilate and Little Plastic Castle. That was the first time I heard Ani and I loved those albums so much I made copies of them (on tapes!) and listened to them over & over. Eventually I bought the CDs myself, and more of Ani’s albums, but I think those two will always be my favorite.

    I finally got to see her live for the first time in 2007, in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, with Melissa Ferrick as the opener. 99.9% of the audience was queer women and it was AMAZING.

  12. It’s actually cRaZy that you posted this today because I hadn’t listened to Ani or thought about her really in many moons, or at least not on a regular basis since college when I memorized all her songs (and all the president’s names like little trained monkeys), and loved her so intensely that I wrote an essay about her for a creative nonfiction class, and then cried when I got an A-/B+, and wrote in my journal “I am devastated [underlined] that I was unable to express how deeply she has transformed me” BUT ANYWAY the timing is cRaZy because last weekend I listened to her ENTIRE DISCOGRAPHY (LITERALLY) (OMFG THIS IS SUCH A FEAT) while cleaning my whole apartment and I’ve never ever had a more soothing/calming/grounding experience, which makes me question my current state of mind almost as much as when I shazammed a Sam Hunt song in the car today

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