Sun is the most rounded and accomplished album of Cat Power’s career.
I agree it's a brilliant 9/10-worthy album ('Manhattan' is my new favourite Cat Power song), but I'm baffled by your premise. Especially the slightly throwaway and a little bit patronising notion of 'maturity', which so many journalists seem to be obsessed with.
Since the first time I heard What Would the Community think, I've felt Chan has such an old soul that right from the off you could hear a life's worth of heartache and sadness in her music. There's also this emotional intelligence permeating from her music that feels like 1000s of years of previous generations arguing in her mind and haunting her heart. It's this sense of being anchored in history - evident throughout her career - that goes so much deeper than any relationship that happened in the past six years while making this record... Maybe you're right, but for me this doesn't feel like a reactive record from someone with fresh heart wound, rather the work of someone whose spent a career refining how to translate the human heart and soul into music, and masterfully leaving a few clues about existence sewn into the seams. Chan Marshall has always done this, and although the droptop-friendly 'sound' of this record is a playful progression from what's come before, I'm not sure this review really nails it, but then that's part of Chan's charm, that she's a mystical being and impossible to pin down... and there's no 'right' answer.
I've not listened to the record yet so I don't have much of an opinion on Hayley's premise in itself. It was, as usual for her, an entertaining and thoughtful dissection, as proved by you feeling moved enough to reply below positing an alternative angle - that's all part of the fun of reviews of course, the debate and discussion of art and opening yourself up to new interpretations of a work that you'd otherwise not considered.
However, 'Especially the slightly throwaway and a little bit patronising notion of 'maturity', which so many journalists seem to be obsessed with' Really irks me.
As editor of this site I'm not sure why you'd choose to so openly disparage one of your writers on a piece that she's written for you, for your website. I know that the continual drive of discussion by both the site’s users and contributors is what is key to its success and, of course, you should be able to partake in that as much as anybody else. However, to say something like that in the public domain to one of your writers, something that’s been written which sounds like it’s been done so with a shit-eating grin forming across your mouth, is pretty insulting to both the writer in question and, I imagine, plenty of others here who slog their guts out to produce quality content for you free of charge. As editor you’ve the power to discuss grievances with copy behind closed doors, choosing to do so out in the open like this shows a disregard for the efforts the writer has put in for you, and indeed, a general dismissal of the quality of their work (and Hayley is one of the finer writers out there). I’m sure you will come back enjoying the fact that you’ve trolled me or whatever, or you’ll point out that to make it as a writer you’ve got to take a good shoeing from time to time, but in this instance and in this way I think it was misplaced, and sends a pretty bad message to any contributors and would-be contributors about the value you place in the work they do for you.
at the risk of this all being a bit DiS's dirty laundry, I think Sean was writing as a music fan first and foremost and I hope Hayley doesn't take the above as anything more than a fan with strong feelings about the record wading in with his tuppence.
We actually had some behind the scenes discussion of this, and while I won't bore you with the entirety of it, I've not been blown away by this album and actually find the context here helpful, as it's the emotions I've been having problem finding beneath all the studio slickness...
Sun, for me, is a super fantastic record. (And I didn't even know about ex-bf, mental hospital, etc until Amanda PF's excellent article the other day) But not everything is quite as strong as Cherokee and Ruin, so I'd have dropped the score one notch, but hey.
Although Cat Power does stellar jobs with covers, I'm thrilled she's finally back to original material.
Thought Sean's comment more than a little 'proprietary'... a WTF? moment.
I'm a fan of Cat Power and this album, and this was a point of debate, rather than some ogre stomping in and attempting to destroy something. Life in which you can't debate opinions on opinions and interpretations of interpretations, is not a world I want to live in.
Plus, as you know, Andrzej is our reviews editor, so I have no say in the reviews and rarely (unless there's an issue) see them until they go live.
Pretty much every article/review about Cat Power says "Chan Marshall" within 2 seconds. It's almost as bad as "Lana Del Rey... AKA LIZZY GRANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
It's like, shit. Yeah. We know her real name is Chan Marshall. We've known for over 15 years.
Dumb comment, but it is starting to bug me. Hah.
Lana Del Rey is a pseudonym, so I guess it doesn't feel that odd using it, but it'd just read really strangely if you only referred to Chan Marshall as 'Cat Power', it's the name of the project, not her stage name.
begin with "At the age of 23..."
we're going to have to get rid of him. it's in the site's best interests, i think we all appreciate that.