Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cat Power - Sun

The Queen of Indie Rock returns with her ninth album, Sun. A slightly different direction, more independence, and years of work make this one of her best releases thus far.

The album's opener, "Cherokee," is bitter-sweet. It's a reminder of Chan Marshall's uniquely beautiful voice and her remarkable skill of providing her own backing vocals. "Ruin," the lead-single, has a catchy piano riff and poetic lyrics about wealthy countries complaining. My favorite song, "3, 6, 9," is, frankly, badass. Its based on a stomp beat and Marshall's pretty vocals are as pissed as they can be. The finely written lyrics point out that the freedom to use drugs can, in some cases, ultimately take away more freedom than it gives.

One of the amazing things about this album is that Marshall recorded it almost entirely by herself. There are a few exceptions, however, including Iggy Pop's guest vocals on the 11-minute epic "Nothin But Time." This album also features more synths and drum machines than previous Cat Power albums. This is managed in a way that still feels natural and nothing like traditional electronica music. Even though drum machines are used occasionally, the beats are always inventive and even syncopated on a few songs.

Cat Power has never been associated with electronic music and this album still doesn't feel very electronic. Her beautiful song-writing, voice, and true style stay powerful with every release. This is easily one of my favorite Cat Power albums and also a great introduction for new fans. Sun is out now on Matador Records.

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