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The Covers Record

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Album Review

On the The Covers Record, Chan Marshall continues her evolution into a remarkably expressive interpreter of songs; her earlier covers of Pavement's "We Dance" and Smog's "Bathysphere" are among her most distinctive performances. This collection includes songs originally by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, Moby Grape, Michael Hurley, and Anonymous. Marshall's sparest album yet, The Covers Record uses guitar and piano as the only foils for her malleable, emotional voice. These tools are more than enough to turn the Stones' anthem "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" into a bluesy, slinky version emphasizing the song's tension and frustration as much as its jaded sexiness, and "Kingston Town" from a reggae standard into a hymnal reflection. Marshall's gentle version of Hurley's "Sweedeedee" and plaintive reading of the Velvets' "I Found a Reason" recall the quietest, most spiritual moments from Moon Pix. This culminates on the cover of her own "In This Hole" from What Would the Community Think; one of the most drastic revisions, its soft pianos and serene vocals replace the original's turbulent anguish, reflecting her changing musical path. Marshall explores many emotional directions, from her yearning version of Moby Grape's "Naked If I Want To" to her brooding sensuality on "Wild Is the Wind," to her down-home optimism on Bob Dylan's "Paths of Victory." "Salty Dog"'s lilting melody and humorous lyrics bring out Marshall's Georgia twang, while her version of Smog's "Red Apples" shows off her voice's sensual lows and keening highs. The joyous cover of "Sea of Love" (originally by Phil Phillips) brings this accomplished, heartfelt Covers Record to a very happy end.

Customer Reviews

More artists should make records like this ...

... but then again, not many artists have Chan Marshall's expressive voice or her interpretive gifts. Using the simplest of elements, Marshall puts her unmistakable stamp on all these songs, starting with an almost unrecognizable "Satisfaction." Where the original Stones version finds Mick Jagger railing and spitting at the phony, shallow world, Marshall seems cautious, wary, vulnerable; she ends the song with a keening "And I'm tryin'," turning it into an unresolved tale of struggle and disappointment. So it is throughout, with Marshall gracefully flipping these songs over and around, exposing new angles of tenderness, sorrow, and joy where you hardly knew they existed before. The whole album is worthwhile, but her versions of "Sweedeedee," "In This Hole" (her own song), "Paths of Victory" and "Sea of Love" in particular are not to be missed.

Gorgeous!

This album is everything a Cat Power fan could want. Chan's interpretations maximize the dramatic possibilities of any song she covers. She makes the songs more beautiful and delicate. "I Found a Reason" is probably my favorite song of hers. In many ways, she showcases her greatest talent on this album, which is her sublime ability to capture a mood perfectly. With this album, I think this is because she was able to focus more on the mood than on generating lyrics. I don't just reccommend one song, I reccommend them all.

HOPE

This is simply beautiful. Something like this will never be fully appreciated in a time where music is so disposable and manufactured. You almost forget what it is like to hear bands who possess the creativity and talent to make their music everlasting. Thank you so much Cat Power.

Biography

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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