In "Hard Times," the opening track from her fine new album Viewfinder, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Rebecca Pronsky addresses the struggles of a generation attempting to get by. Over a propulsive beat and a wash of noirishly twangy guitars, Pronsky echoes sentiments familiar to many: "Numbers used to be so small: pennies, nickels, dimes / Now, the same collectors call, fallen on hard times."
As is frequently the case with the best topical music, "Hard Times" feels personal, anecdotal and emotional rather than devolving into a didactic indictment of the institutions at fault. A commanding, low-register warble, Pronsky's voice conveys the wisdom of experience without crossing the line into defeatist world-weariness. To the contrary, Pronsky's song is more rallying cry than lament: "Get yourself together," she implores, "'cause it's hard times." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.