Talkin' Cat Power

Cat Power's, the name in which singer-songwriter Chan Marshall performs under, has a few different "eras" that define her musical journey. . .



1: I'd categorize Dear Sir, What Would the Community Think?Myra Lee, and Moon Pix (1995-1998) as albums in which Marshall channeled that mellow electric guitar spider-web feeling into her music. In many of these songs, there's a detectable folk guitar rhythm underneath, punctuated by drums, sharp lyricism, and a lead guitar that takes a melodic, spacey, and clean direction. "Talking People", a song that chronicles Marshall's thoughts about achievement, social status, and higher education, provides an excellent example of the electric-spider web sound. Listen as Marshall weaves her guitar around a slick drum beat that kicks in around the 25 second mark:


2:  Marshall moved into different territory with 2003's You are Free. If, sonically, albums like What Would the Community Think? and Moon Pix were serious downers, You are Free is at times lighter, tighter, more muscular, and piano-based. It may be her most complete album. Starting with 2006's The Greatest and following through 2008's Jukebox and Dark End of the Street, Marshall began rooting her music approach in rock n' roll, soul, and R&B. She wasn't afraid to cover Sinatra (before Bob Dylan got into it), sing soulfully, and bang on the piano, or maybe even hold her hands on the microphone and belt out a tune. In this sense, she had shifted from the shy songwriter plucking the guitar, to confident rocker, to chronicler of the American songbook. Here is her excellent cover of Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You":

3: In 2012, Marshall released Sun, which sounded was shrouded in mystery, pop sounds, and commercial glam.  Underneath, Marshall still shows her keen sense of melody and capacity to write interesting songs. She hasn't released any music in about 5 years now, so it'll were waiting to see what she does next. The lead single in Sun, "Ruin", reminds me of both Johnny Cash's "I've been Everywhere" and Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody". In "Ruin", Marshall addresses the commonality that runs through all of us over a hypnotic, piano based beat:




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