Amanda Jo Williams: "Ohio"


By Mark Abraham | 10 July 2006

Almost everybody I’ve played this for has been all “seriously?” I don’t care. I love this shit, and I’ll take you all to task. Peppered in among the country-throbbed guitars and violins that link like lumbar to the spinal cartilage of this walking bass line, Williams’ voice sounds almost pretty, which -- and I’ll get to this in more detail when I review the whole album when the Glow returns from vacation -- is strange enough, since that’s certainly not the point, and her guttural affectations allow country and punk to coexist believably. This voice… this isn’t a Newsom argument, because I don’t think Williams wants us to like her music despite her voice -- the voice is the point, and like the greatest experimental players, she’s pulling out this whole inflective dada act like it’s the most natural thing in the would.

The revolving chorus structures that verbally palindrome onomatopoeic phrases into double-citations of the state’s name (o - HI - O - o - hi - O!) are enrapturing, and then when the key changes slightly for “just another man,” and Williams almost sings on key? Mindfuck. I’m not even entirely sure what “Ohio” is about, but I don’t care, because I’m square-dancing along with the hook (“ah-ee-wa-ooh-wa-ee-wa-ooh”) and just assuming that when she screams “I don’t know you / I don’t know you / I don’t know you / I don’t see you / You’re just another man” she’s pissed off. I don’t know you, Amanda Jo Williams, but I’m freaking out about your music.