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Neko Case Returns With A New Anthem, Fueled By 'Bad Luck'

Neko Case's new album, <em>Hell-On</em>, comes out June 1.
Courtesy of the artist
Neko Case's new album, Hell-On, comes out June 1.

When Neko Case releases Hell-On this summer, it'll be her first solo album in five years. But the singer has kept busy in that time, popping up on a pair of New Pornographers records and launching case/lang/veirs, her supergroup with k.d. lang and Laura Veirs. So it's no wonder that Hell-On's early singles — the title track and the new "Bad Luck" are all that have come out so far — find the powerhouse singer resetting herself a bit.

The first self-produced Neko Case record (and seventh overall), Hell-On was recorded in the midst of worldwide unrest, a string of high-profile natural disasters and the destruction of Case's home in a fire. In fact, Case got word of that last catastrophe — she was overseas at the time — just hours before she recorded "Bad Luck," whose words proved apropos.

After reciting an assortment of colorful missteps and mishaps — the sort of unironic-but-unfortunate stuff Alanis Morissette might have described as "ironic" — Case sums up what turns out to be a pretty healthy way to look at misfortune: "It's not as bad as I thought it would be / But it's still pretty bad luck."

Hell-On comes out June 1 viaANTI-.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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