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Cat Power



UPC: 887828046911

Format: LP

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From the cover of Tom Waits' "Yesterday Is Here" on Dear Sir to the version of Rihanna's "Stay" on Wanderer, reinterpreting the work of artists she loves has always been a key part of Chan Marshall's music. Roughly once a decade, she serves up an album's worth of thoughtfully chosen and performed covers; the first, 2000's Covers Album, came out of a period when she needed to find respite from writing her own songs. Since then, she's used these collections as reflections of where she is as an artist and a person. Coming after 2018's wounded yet liberated Wanderer, Covers shares a similar state of mind. Some of the best moments find her reflecting on friends, lovers, and identities lost to time, as on her hushed version of "I'll Be Seeing You," a tribute to Philippe Zdar, the late producer who worked with her on Sun. Two other highlights, "Against the Wind" and "A Pair of Brown Eyes" -- which trades the Pogues' squeezebox and pipes for a woozy Mellotron -- focus on the passing of time and changing perspectives on life, and Marshall strips both of their swagger to bring their poignancy to the fore. She also manages to make her version of "Here Comes a Regular" sound even more desolate than the Replacements' original, and transforms the exquisitely aloof sorrow of Nico's "These Days" into an up-close confessional. As on The Covers Record and Jukebox, Marshall unifies the sound of all the songs she pays tribute to into something unmistakably hers. Backed by her Wanderer band, she brings a somber sultriness to Frank Ocean's "Bad Religion," recognizes another expert balladeer with her sweltering version of Lana Del Rey's "White Mustang," and zooms in on the battle between despair and hope within "Pa Pa Power," a song by Ryan Gosling's underappreciated indie band Dead Man's Bones. And like so many other times during her career, she does a lot with a little on "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," using barely more than an upright bass and pedal steel (and, of course, her warm, knowing vocals) to connect with Kitty Wells' original and make it her own. Covers is a treat for fans, and reaffirms that Marshall can find the Cat Power -- as well as new meanings -- in the music that moves her. ~ Heather Phares


1 - Bad Religion
2 - Unhate
3 - Pa Pa Power
4 - White Mustang
5 - Pair of Brown Eyes
6 - Against the Wind
7 - Endless Sea
8 - These Days
9 - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
10 - I Had a Dream Joe
11 - Here Comes a Regular
12 - I'll Be Seeing You