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iTunes Review

While she’s previously recorded with a bevy of ace musicians—including members of Dirty Three and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, as well as her own Dirty Delta Blues Band—Marshall performed all the instrumental parts on Sun. The organic soul grooves of The Greatest, released six years prior, have been switched out for the mechanized beats often found on mainstream pop albums. Yet, it's still a Cat Power album. There's a moody undertow that carries over to the title track, and even the ebullient bounce of "Ruin" isn't all sweetness and light. Drum machines, programmed synths and indelible pop hooks translate to new ground for Marshall, but she still calls upon the original punk, Iggy Pop, to add his mystified voice to the 11-minute opus, "Nothin' But Time," while a track like "Human Being" still reminds one of the dark mysticism of Moon Pix. Recorded at three separate locations, Sun has a sonic variety never before associated with Cat Power. It's about time she's having some fun.

Customer Reviews

This is the Greatest

Amazing. Complex. Brilliant. The production is superb and her voice still resonates deep within. I have been waiting for this album for a good while and the experience of listening to it for the first time was worth the wait. This album is not a departure or something new. It is an evolution. I will be listening to this album on repeat for a long, long time.

The "actual" Greatest Cat Power album, so far...

Sun is the most consistently impressive Cat Power album to date. Those who own and have often played any of Marshall's previous albums know that, while there are often a handful of great songs contained, there are almost just as many misses... I'm looking at you Myra Lee and What Would the Community Think. Even her critically acclaimed The Greatest had its share of uninspired doozies, although its stronger tracks ultimately overshadowed and outshone the lesser examples. It's companion album, the similar-sounding Jukebox, frightened some diehard fans into believing Cat Power's sound had regressed into nostalgia, and at the time was an ominous cloud looming over the release of Sun, pun intended. What a delightful turn of events, then, to find that this album manages to, um, "eclipse" even her best efforts (probably You Are Free, arguably Moon Pix) in terms of consistent output of one great track after another. Yes, it does sound different than her other, "grittier" records, but if you like them so much go and listen to them... we have to move on, people. Sun ensures Marshall's overall scope, stylistically offering more to choose from than with earlier efforts. Longtime Cat Power enthusiasts will love "Always On My Own" and "Human Being" as more refined examples of her eldest LPs; while progressive 'Powers will jump for joy on thumping, potentially dancey cuts like "3, 6, 9", "Cherokee" and "Silent Machine." Possibly the most emotionally effective marriage of Marshall's past and present, however, doesn't come until late in the album, a tactic she (wisely) has previously employed with tracks like "Colors & the Kids" and "Maybe Not" (Moon Pix, You Are Free, respectively) of which Sun's "Nothin But Time" tearfully earns its rightful place alongside. Still, it'd be nice to hear a version without Iggy Pop's iconically distracting vocals... Sorry. Lyrically there's a more political edge to some of the songs, particularly the single "Ruin" and "Peace & Love", the latter of which could serve as an Occupy Wall Street mantra, while the former highlights economic disparities gathered from Marshall's own observations abroad. Then there's some relationship stuff, which is apparently about her break-up with Giovanni Ribisi, but it's actually not offensive insofar as its not noticeably specific to him. There is a weird, almost Ayn Rand-ian moment in the chorus of "Real Life" - something about "Nothing's wrong / with helping the strong" - but this is followed immediately after by the humanitarianism of "Human Being" and the album's more politically progressive themes overall, so... whatever. Like other great artists before her, there are some concepts covered in Sun that Marshall has previously touched upon, but as with the album's sound itself, these ideas are more realized and tangible here than ever before. Only one track, the most recent of Marshall's "I love new York" jingles, "Manhattan", feels somewhat out of place, if not just a little trite in an album that covers weightier ground. Maybe it's levity, but it feels more like a bonus track than the actual two "bonus tracks" offered in iTunes' "Bonus Track Version" - both of which are pretty great and worth the fraction of cost. Truly the only concern among longtime Cat Power fans must be that, at one's artistic peak, it's all down hill from here... But, then again, after her other great records, Sun was never supposed to be this good.

Not like what she used to do

I was hoping she'd keep to that raw kind of simple sound for this album, but she didn't. There's a lot of noise and not much clarity. Some of the tracks are actually alright but in general Sun lacks rhythmic depth in comparison to her previous albums.


Born: January 21, 1972 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Penning songs that are offbeat in narrative, but literate and emotionally revealing, and performing them in a soulful, idiosyncratic style that reveals both strength and fragility, Cat Power was one of the most acclaimed singer/songwriters to emerge from the 1990s indie rock scene, a one of a kind artist unafraid to reveal her inner self in her music and follow her muse in a variety of different directions. Cat Power is the stage name of Chan (pronounced "Shawn") Marshall, born Charlyn Marie Marshall...
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