Cat Power - Covers (Domino)

In most cases, a covers album is a stop-gap in an artist’s career, a point where they take stock before plotting their next move. Other times it is simply an easy way to meet a contractual obligation.

For Cat Power, it is neither. On her various covers albums, she approaches others songs much the same way Sinatra did on on In The Wee Small Hours and Sings For Only The Lonley. These are explorations into a mood, a state of mind, a way of expressing exactly where she is right now as a person.

This is deeper than just covering a song, as opening track ‘Bad Religion’ makes plain. Frank Ocean’s poignant tale of unrequited love becomes a haunting meditation on the corruption of religion and how it has been used to discriminatine against women.

Drawing on post-punk, hip hop, indie, folk, and country genres could have resulted in a lack of cohesion, but there is a unity and a thread to the sound and themes of the this album, and there are wonderful reimaginings.

Power’s take on The Pogues ‘A Pair Of Brown Eyes’, sees her backed only by minimal mellotron and tambourine. Her vocals are double tracked, with each track slightly at odds with the other, creating a duet of two uneasy souls, finding some kind of union in song - a union the song’s protagopnists strive for and fail to achieve.

While the sparse atmosphere of Iggy Pop’s ‘The Endless Sea’ is retained, the original’s new wave/synth elements are jetissoned in favour of a more sparse, left-field, blues vibe, creating something hypnotic in the process - like all the best moments on this album.


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