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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cat Power - Jukebox (2008)

Now available on limited edition deluxe vinyl. A long-awaited sequel to Chan Marshall's The Covers Record, Jukebox finds everyone's favourite Chanel model tackling songs by Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Billie Holliday, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell among others. As was the case with her version of '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' on her last covers LP, Marshall takes a pop culture classic and radically reconfigures it for her album opener (Sinatra's 'New York' in this case), which drifts into the gorgeous, reverberant tones of Hank Williams' 'Ramblin' (Wo)man'. The song is framed by deep shimmers of lead guitar, playing off against Marshall's incredible voice - which has probably never sounded so good. Significantly, you could argue that the two most successful recordings on the album are of Cat Power originals. The first is a new, piano-driven version of 'Metal Heart'. Having originally appeared as a career highlight on Moon Pix, the song is given a new lease of life as a powerful blues ballad. Certain die hard fans will insist that it's not as good as the original, but you'd have a hard time arguing this new interpretation isn't awesome in its own right. It features a wonderful performance not only from Marshall herself, but her band too, who are made up by indie rock royalty like Jim White and Judah Bauer. Bob Dylan has clearly always been a major influence on Cat Power's career: he gets a couple of nods on The Covers Record, and Marshall delivered an awesome impression of him on the I'm Not There soundtrack. Now, on Jukebox she tackles 'I Believe In You', but then goes even further, dedicating a new song of her own, 'Song To Bobby' to not-quite meeting the great man himself, and in so doing mimics Dylan's own writing brilliantly. While an entirely new Cat Power album would have been nice, there's undoubtedly something special about the way Chan Marshall tackles other people's music, and furthermore, her voice sounds just incredible on these recordings. ESSENTIAL PURCHASE. in boomkat [Part1] [Part2]

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