Cat Power CD review [Matador]

Music Reviews
Cat Power CD review [Matador]
Jan 2, 2006, 19:42

CAT POWER The Greatest CD

Chan Marshall's self-destruction—and recent efforts to clean herself up—seem to have generated more headlines than her music over the past year or so. The decadence makes enticing copy, but it shouldn't overshadow the reason we even care, and that's her powerful talent. On The Greatest, Marshall, accompanied by musicians who used to play with Al Green and Booker T. and the MGs—creates gorgeous southern soul, a somewhat surprising turn for the odd folk chanteuse. This record's full of laid-back piano, horns and strings topped off by Marshall's dusky, world-weary vocals. While the mood is less dire than her previous efforts, The Greatest still has it share of angst and resignation. On “Empty Shell,” a countrified ballad, Marshall laments her man's decision to stray but invites him to treat his new lover well, as fiddles dance sadly in the background. But it's not all a downer, and on some tracks Marshall shows something resembling hope. In “Lived in Bars” she recalls “living in a bottle,” but professes a readiness to come up for air. With that in mind, Marshall's throwback soul record is pleasantly refreshing. [Matador]

-Michael Coleman

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