Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jukebox - Cat Power

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Riding the crest of a wave, commercially at least, after the fantastic The Greatest album, it's not particularly suprising that Chan Marshall would be somewhat contrary and follow it up with a covers album (the second of her career). Even the one new song on the album is very much inspired by Bob Dylan. And she's also one of the few musicians who would cover one of their own songs in the midst of such a project!

Her previous effort, The Covers Album, proved that Cat Power can certainly be relied on for some great "interpretations" of famous songs and there are a number of tracks on Jukebox that back that up.

New York, New York is transformed into a slinky blues number, and her take on Hank Williams Rambling Woman is, quite simply, breath-taking. A crack at another legendary Country act with the Highwaymen's Silver Stallion is similarly excellent

Sadly however the album as a whole doesn't quite match up to the sum of it's best moments, with a few too many obvious moments. You can see why Marshall would want to attempt Joni Mitchell or Janis Joplin songs, but she plays them too straight and injects too little of herself into these tracks.

There's also a slight disappointment that there has been little change in pace since The Greatest. As, well, great as that was Marshall is usually a girl for new tricks. Here she's trod the same path again.

This is a good album, no question, but falls a little short of greatness. For those already in love with Cat Power this is an album you'll want to hear and you will enjoy. Those looking for an entry point might want to check out The Greatest first.

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