Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Album Review: Cat Power
Cat Power -'Jukebox.' (Matador)
...in which Chan Marshall releases her second covers album (mind you, how many did Bryan Ferry do) of this decade. There's an impressive cast list of both songwriters (Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and oh yes, Cat Power) as well as collaborators and guest appearances, too many to list here.
The voice sounds as fantastic as ever, and if anything has got even better. It's been noted that she has re-recorded her own song 'Metal Heart' which first appeared on Moon Pix ten years ago. Whilst I like her vocal on this take more, the piano and blues guitar are great (this is the first record she has made with her new band), it isn't anywhere near as good as the original. Her version of 'New York' as popularised by Frank Sinatra is a complete reworking that opens the record and sounds like a completely different song, and all the better for it.
If Bob Dylan is arguably the songwriter's songwriter, then it's almost inevitable that his presence is going to be here in some form, and it is twice: Power covers 'I Believe In You' with guitars that echo the Stones' 'Brown Sugar' and the only new song on the record called 'Song for Bobby' which she wrote about meeting him for the first time.
The versions of this record vary, I was sent a 12 track promo to review, but iTunes has versions with 13 and 17 songs on it. Whatever the song, what strikes me most is her voice, and just how great it is. Perhaps though, the best song on her is the aforementioned 'Song To Bobby' which showcases her at her best. Once you have heard Cat Power's voice, few singers will ever be able to touch you in the same way again.
***1/2 (for the record)
*****1/2 (for the voice)
Jukebox is out now.
Cat Power's MySpace is here
Matador have been really strict about the mp3s on this one, so here is a link to her official Matador webpage.
Meanwhile, just in case you haven't ever heard Cat Power before, here are two excellent tracks (linked to Insound. These are free, and legal but you really, really should own these albums. Don't let yourself down):
Cat Power -'The Greatest.' mp3
Cat Power -'He War.' mp3 .