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What Would the Community Think

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Editors’ Notes

Chan Marshall, who performs as Cat Power, relies on a slightly abrasive dissonance to channel her emotional woes. Though her third album, What Would the Community Think, is considered to be a step up in focus and cohesion, it’s still a long ways from conventional pop music. Electric guitars are strummed ruthlessly; drums kick forth unvarnished. From there, Marshall sends forth her whispers, her quiet moans and cathartic wails until it unravels as her own personal interpretation of the blues. “They Tell Me” is obvious, a straight-forward blues progression, but the title track and “Nude as the News” channel the tradition and spike it with a punk rocker’s abandon of melody and harmony until the effect is less Muddy Waters than X or Sleater-Kinney. Even when the arrangements spread out — “Talking People” connotes country music with sudden sweeps of pedal steel — they retain their rawness by refusing any studio effects. Instead something soaks up the ambience until the sound closes in on itself and Marshall sounds as if she’s singing from inside a box, warbling in imperfect pitch, sounding scared and insecure. The hellhound is on her trail and gaining.

Customer Reviews

one of the greatest albums of the 90s

i bought this cd in 1996 when it came out because a friend recommended it to me. i've probably listened to it a few hundred times since then and i still haven't gotten tired of it. every song on this album seems to express some sort of pure emotion, be it hurt, betrayal, lonliness, confusion, etc, while sounding simple and universal. highlights: In This Hole, Fate of the Human Carbine, King Rides By, Enough. for me this is the best thing she had ever put out. if you know anything about cat power and haven't heard this CD check it out. you'll be glad you did.

oh what to say...

mmmm, well this album is just amazing. it sends chills through your body. chan marshall is a beautiful voice and writes wonderful music for this album. the songs go from very sleepy, like on they tell me, to loud and furious, like nude as the news. there isnt a song that isnt captivating of this album. you will feel like you are laying in a cloud all the way through.

Subtle Masterpiece

This is Chans (Cat Power) masterpiece. After one listen it demands to be played over and over. Her voice, as always, is amazing. Hearing her is just pure bliss, so many emotions with such subtle simple switches it may seem hard to even notice sometimes, but you feel it. Her lyrics are brilliant. beautiful, and again subtle. Fromt he first few second of the album, you well be drawn in. In This Hole is amazing! Haunting, sullen but with a happy ending (I think?). The title track is an odd one at first listen, but after a few play it grows on you. Nude As The News is just amazing, one of her best songs. Taking People is a beautiful bluesy song, that brings Chan back to her more southern roots. King Rides By takes some getting use too, but a gem. Water And Air is brilliant, it has this unique feeling to it. It feels like water and air..... somehow. The Coat Is Always on is an interesting song, really cool listen. The two cover songs Fate of the Human Carbine and Bathysphere are phenominal. Chan easily takes others work, and makes it her own. All tracks are solid and brilliant, this album is a must own. Its Chan before she got glossy (which wasnt a bad thing).


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...
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