Chan Marshall's gorgeous, evocative albums as Cat Power have gained even more critical and popular attention than her idiosyncratic on-stage behavior (and that's saying quite a bit). MOON PIX (1998) and YOU ARE FREE (2004), the two albums of all-original material preceding 2006's THE GREATEST, were spellbinding affairs that pitted Marshall's haunting voice against a stirring m?lange of spare, low-key indie rock and atmospheric balladry. THE GREATEST, however, one of Marshall's most focused and impressive efforts, surpasses those two superb albums.
The album is characterized by elaborate horn and string arrangements and a warm, polished feel, much of which stems from the old-school Memphis soul musicians Marshall has backing her (guitarist Teenie Hodges and bassist Leroy Hodges, both of Al Green fame, appear, as does MGs replacement drummer Steve Potts, among others). The sweet, earthy sheen may lack some of the raggedness that pleased Marshall's indie fans, yet the artist has lost none of her incisive songwriting ability, whether on moving narratives (the title track), countrified lopes ("Could We"), or spare meditations on loneliness ("Where is My Love"). More immediately accessible that previous Cat Power releases, THE GREATEST is no less distinctive or engaging: it sounds less like selling out than buying in.
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop
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Meta Artist: Cat Power
Purchased from another seller. If you know about Chan Marshall's life, you can see it reflected perfectly in her music. The previous album You Are Free, her best, was recorded and released after she finally got her drinking under control. It is exacting and deliberate, but with raw brutal emotion and frayed nerves fully on display. It is full of dissonance by design. It is not an easy listening experience. In contrast The Greatest seems to be from after her life had stabilized. It is easily her most positive record, the most polished, refined, but also restrained; reserved. It provides the most pleasant experience. I highly recommend both.