Artist: Cat Power
Format: Digital (Spotify)
“Sometimes you gotta do what you don’t wanna do to get away with an unordinary life,” sings Cat Power, aka Chan Marshall, over the loops and synth beats in “Real Life,” a cut from “Sun,” the Atlanta-born singer’s ninth LP.
It’s a telling statement for Marshall, who produced and financed the making of “Sun” on her own. She takes the road less traveled, subtracting the piano and guitar and substituting a veneer of electronic dream pop.
Credit to her for having the gumption to be her own woman. However, it’s hard not to see this progression as anything but a disappointment. Marshall’s gorgeous 2006 platter, her last made of original studio material, was “The Greatest,” a solemn, slowcore lament.
The problem isn’t the material. Marshall is just as much of a downer as ever. The songs are dressed up without the raw honesty of painful accoutrements.
The problem is that we have plenty of singers who do this synth pop schtick with as much conviction as she does.
So when Marshall is off trying to be Jem or St. Vincent, who is being Cat Power?
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.