Editor’s Note: Here it is, what you’ve been waiting for. After many long nights of heated debate and deliberation we finally settled on our listings for the best albums of the year. I think everyone will be surprised at one point or another, but I’ll leave it up to those who championed each selection to explain what’s here and why.
It actually pains me to write about this album being at number ten, as it was my personal favourite of the year. The Greatest is Cat Power’s (real name Chan Marshall) seventh offering and if you’re familiar with her music you can instantly tell that there is a new and reinvented sound, different from 2003’s You Are Free.
The recording was made with various members of the Memphis soul music scene, so it’s no longer just Chan with her piano and guitar, there is a bigger sound which you notice instantly by the strings in the opener, ‘The Greatest’ and the gospel vocals in ‘Lived In Bars’. It’s definitely her most accessible and enjoyable album to date.
Cat Power – The Greatest
Cat Power – Lived In Bars
This is the type of music that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Also this year I had the enormous pleasure of seeing Ms. Marshall live – and for the fans I don’t have to tell you how utterly fantastic it was and how jaw-droppingly gorgeous Chan looked (I love her by the way. Can you tell?). She performed the first 3 quarters of the album in order, before doing some older stuff. The highlight though, was when she did probably my favourite track off of The Greatest, ‘Where Is My Love’.
The performance in Camden, not taken by me.
All those things you read about Chan having no confidence on stage? There was no sign of that here. Anyone who can sing a song like this and yet give you a massive fixed smile on your face has to be simply angelic.
Coming back to the album though, this song shows that although The Greatest has amazing production, it’s not really needed for Chan to shine. Stripped (bar a few strings), this song is as good as any other on here.
Cat Power – Where Is My Love
I’ll be honest, it’s not an entirely perfect album, there are points where you may find yourself drifting off, for me this happens with ‘The Moon’ (boring) and ‘Willie’ (great track, a minute and half too long).
Finally I’ll leave with the album closer, ‘Love & Communication’. Look out for Chan on El-P’s new album where she’ll feature on a track ‘Poisonville Kids No Wins’ which he wrote whilst listening to this song.
Cat Power – Love & Communication
If I were better with words I could probably describe to you how great this album actually is, but you’ll just have to trust me on this one. Pick it up, if you haven’t done so already.