In 2012, Chan Marshall finally made the perfect Cat Power album. I know a lot of people will argue that this is a false claim, but to my ears this is the album that Chan has been threatening to make her whole career. “Sun” is the kind of album that an artist builds, after years of getting lost in the wilderness of experimentation. After spending years blowing our minds with her minimalism, Chan finally adds some extra ingredients to give us the perfect mix of modern production with her aching minimalism. It is like sitting down to eat the perfect meal.
Not to divert too far off the track but I think it is worth me mentioning how much Chan Marshall means to me. As an artist, I take a lot of influence from her music. Before I joined rock bands, I spent a period of time writing and recording my own minimal ache songs and during this whole period of time, I just wanted to mimic my hero, Cat Power. I’ve got hours and hours of demos that I recorded under my “The Myth Of Love” solo moniker that were just me tripping on Chan and essentially writing her love letters via my music. One day in the future I plan to follow that path again, but for now I try to think like Chan Marshall in terms of how she would attack the role of a singer in a very experimental and very sonic rock n roll band. Anything that is good in my delivery as an artist comes from her.
This brings me back to “Sun” which as I mentioned above is the sound of all things Cat Power coming together and sounding perfect. When I first heard “Sun” I was just blown away at the new creative leaps taken by Chan. The album is full of beautiful modern electronic and hip hop production all mixed with her minimal styling’s. This album made me want to drop everything I was doing musically, it gave me new ideas on how to deliver and communicate existence. It makes my heart swoon and takes me to new landscapes of love and devotion but also opens up my mind to the past aches and heartbreak mistakes. This is the modern sound of falling apart but somehow finding hope amongst the wreckage.
I’m not as plugged into the myth of Bob Dylan as some people are but I often feel like Chan Marshall is the female re-incarnation. The stories and chameleon energy of Dylan is consistently hovering underneath every new movement of music that Cat Power offers. Most artists spend years trying to tap into the type of honesty that Chan Marshall deals in but rarely do they get close. “Sun” is the first step in a braver direction for Cat Power, one where she escapes past expectations and the first time that she colours the canvas with some brand new blues and haikus. This is 21st Century folk music without the twee and it sounds raw as fuck. There are more roars in “Sun” than any of the distorted rock n roll existing in our modern era.
It is quite apparent that I’m a big fan of Cat Power and to me she can do no wrong and “Sun” is the perfect example of why Chan Marshall is the most vital musician in existence at the moment. Hip indie film makers will make movies about her in 20 years time, our kids will strive to mimic her when they pick up acoustic guitars and all of us mere mortals will struggle to understand just how she manages to put this much emotion in her music.
“Sun” will wake you up to just how unconscious you have been and will be the first warm hug you feel. “Sun” is an essential album for anyone who claims to like music in 2012.
10 Cassette Tapes Out of 10
By Dan Newton