141. Cat Power – “The Greatest”

Ms Chan Marshall (the individual behind the CP moniker) is a bit of a darling around my home town.  Her first not-completely-avant garde album was recorded in Melbourne.  Not long after I saw her deliver a memorable sunset set at Meredith Music Festival.  While my memory of said performance is hazy at best, I do recall her being quite arty and possibly captivating.Album Cover Cat Power The Greatest

Despite this I never bothered to acquire any of her output.  I was happy to hear snippets of her new work on local radio and write her off as yet another difficult ingenue embraced by lover of all who record – Thurston Moore.

I ended up picking this album up dirt cheap in a music store in Saigon (thus it may be of dubious provenance).  And it has underwhelmed me ever since.  CP comes across as yet another of these breathy, slow-paced, potentially emotive female crooners.  But, the problem is the sameness of the tracks.  This album can loop and loop incessantly on my iPod, yet I recall so little.

Perhaps it’s that Marshall’s delicate compositions are ill-suited to brash, sunny California.  Or that they do not lend themselves to a roadtrip (I must state a current fascination with seeking out hip-hop tunes about downing Cristal, girls in bikinis, and invitations for combining these two in hotel rooms, and then playing said tunes loud while cruising the LA streets).

I saw her perform this album last year, and she was impressive, so she may have some claim to goodness…

File under: Only great in an Anthony Mundine sense of the word

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One response to “141. Cat Power – “The Greatest”

  1. I disagree. As an owner of all things Cat Power, I think this record is fantastic, even if it is a shocking stylistic departure from her earlier work.

    On it, she saws off the rough edges of her voice, conducts a group of seasoned studio vets through her songs and comes away with a touching collection that is engaging in its details and lyrics- it is both background and foreground music.

    Hang on to it and give it a try with headphones. It sounds too obvious but my obvious reference point is “Dusty in Memphis,” an album that also seems boring on the surface until you dive in.

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