For Janis Ian, The Light At The End Of The Line bookends a kaleidoscopic catalogue that began with her 1967 self-titled debut at age fifteen. The songs are intimate portraits of getting older but wiser (‘I’m Still Standing’), of knowing when to stand up and not take any more shit (‘Resist’), of celebrating life’s fleeting beauty (‘Swannanoa’), of exalting in your true identity (‘Perfect Little Girl’), of paying homage to a lifelong hero and her demons (‘Nina,’ as in Simone). The Light at the End of the Line feels like a victory lap for an artist who has nothing to lose, and nothing left to prove. You hear that in the risks Ian took in both her lyrics and the inspired production choices.
“I love this album,” Ian says. “There is an element of, ‘This is the absolute best I can do over the span of 58 years as a writer. This is what I’ve learned. And I realised that this album has an arc, and I’ve never really done anything like that before.”
Janis Ian began her iconic career at age fourteen when she wrote her socially and politically impactful song ‘Society’s Child’ about an interracial romance between teenagers. Her honest songwriting has translated into timeless, culturally significant tracks including ‘At Seventeen,’ ‘Jesse,’ and ‘Stars,’ the latter of which was covered by Nina Simone, Cher, Mel Tormé, and a host of other artists who felt the song spoke to their own lives. She has been nominated for nine Grammy awards and won two: one in 1976 for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female (‘At Seventeen’) and one in 2013 for Best Spoken Word Recording (Society’s Child: An Autobiography).
Over her extraordinary career, Ian has forged deep connections with her fans and she cherishes those associations.
She notes, “As I wrote The Light At The End Of The Line,’ I realised that it’s really a love song. I didn’t understand that so many years of meeting my audience after shows, of corresponding with them, had created this very real relationship that few artists are privileged to have”
Artist’s website: https://janisian.com/
‘Resist’ – official video: