Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Diane Izzo: 'One'

In 1999, Diane Izzo released her debut album One. It is an arresting and perfectly executed album. Raw and dark and elaborate. Damage, disintegration and harrowing, devastating beauty. It is so pure and honest -- you can hear her truth in every lyric and every chord. This may be one of the only posts I do about an album without linking to a song. While I know all the songs can stand on their own, I could never listen to them that way. This, probably more than most I've encountered, is an album. A whole. An experience. A work of art.

One never got the attention it deserved. Journalists are now calling it "one of the best singer-songwriter albums ever to come out of Chicago." I think that's an understatement. In my opinion, it's one of the best albums to come out of anywhere ever, regardless of geography or genre. I waited and waited for something else from her, but it never came. It seemed like Diane just disappeared from the face of the earth. Every couple of years or so I'd do a Google search in hopes that there would be a new release, but I never found any mention of anything. Last night I checked again and I found some very sad news. Diane passed away in 2011 from brain cancer. I am heartbroken. It strikes me now how fitting her debut album title is.