Cat Power: Covers
Cat Power (aka singer-songwriter Chan Marshall) has such a defined, unique style and voice that her latest LP, Covers, may as well be all originals. And a damn good album of originals at that. In reality, Covers is her third album of completely reimagined versions of pop, rock and R&B cuts since 2000’s The Covers Record, and each one is unmistakably Cat Power: devastatingly soulful vocals, sparse but piercing guitars and an overall vibe of gorgeous melancholy. When your career is as long and esteemed as Cat Power’s, it’s hard to claim superlatives—but Covers is excellent. A bluesy, denim-clad, majestic bummer; a rainy day record if there ever was one. Cat Power digs up gems both generations-old and brand new here—she covers Frank Ocean and Lana Del Rey, but also Iggy Pop, The Replacements, Billie Holiday and pioneering country singer Kitty Wells. Each song gets dismantled and rebuilt completely. The LP’s opener, originally the soul-stirring “Bad Religion” by Frank Ocean, is recast as a haunting, echoing dirge, with Marshall harmonizing with herself over fractured guitars. “Pa Pa Power,” the ghoulish sing-along by Ryan Gosling’s forgotten—but fantastic—band Dead Man’s Bones, becomes a stormy but stripped-down rock tune, with Marshall’s commanding “Burn the streets, burn the cars” over a billowing guitar line. It’s not all foreboding, shadowy rock-and-roll. Marshall’s take on Jackson Browne’s beloved “These Days” is breathtaking—just her voice and gently plucked electric guitar shining as if a candle on a starless night. Covers is yet more proof that Cat Power is one of the most singular artists in modern music, no matter whose song she is singing.