Tag Archives: Cat Power

450. Various Artists – “Juno” (Soundtrack)

Ooops, missed another J.

Soundtracks have been consistent under-performers thus far in my reviews. Admittedly many of them have been cast records from musicals (not a big love of mine), and/or retro compilations trying to capture the sound of some era.

This here 2007 release does have one cast performance, several throwback tracks from Buddy Holly, Mott the Hoople and Velvet Underground, and a couple of indie stars covering slightly incongrous classics. But what it manages to create is a perfect companion piece to a film I thoroughly enjoyed.

I presume everyone reading this has seen the teen-pregrancy flick in question.  If you haven’t, head straight to your local vid pirate pronto, confident this will delight even more than Spike’s battle for respect while her belly expanded on the first season of Degrassi Junior High.

The film was all sassy outsiderness and non-Gothic emo-ness, and the song choices reflect this perfectly. Belle & Sebastian fit in perfectly for the sensitive male angle, but it is Kimya Dawson who steals the show in the way that Ellen Page did.

Dawson’s songwriting and delivery are pretty much how you’d think Juno might sound as a singer – all fastpaced, incongruous, hilarious. We picked several tunes from this album for our post-wedding ceremony (and certainly aren’t Robinson Crusoe on that front).

Seeing the stars sing this track still makes me smile:

File under: How soundtracks should be compiled.

281. Cat Power – “Jukebox”

You may recall I was pretty dismissive of Chan Marshall’s The Greatest album. Nevertheless I did pick up her follow-up a couple of months back, and it is thus due for a review.

This time she’s doing the Rod Stewart thing and covering some old standards. So, here we get slightly sultry takes on New York, New York, Blue and Rambling Woman (amongst others).

She (if feel comfortable over-using the personal pronoun here, as she has embraced feline parenthood) makes each song her own.

Of course, that means each sounds pretty much the same.

It’s all delicate (but powerful) vocal over slow, loungy piano. This is fantastic background music. In fact, I can’t imagine how it could come to the foreground in any fashion.

If I walked into a late night bar and some chanteuse was crooning in this fashion, I’d be very happy to sup my drink and let the tunes act as a backdrop to much more interesting thoughts. I wouldn’t rush to see the tracks belted out in a concert venue, however. I recall many of these covers being the lowlights when I saw her live back in 2008.

File under: Save your coins

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