Released: 14th January 2022
Cat Power’s latest instalment in her ongoing exploration into the beguiling world of cover albums is the aptly named ‘Covers’. Skimming over tracks from the likes of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Billie Holiday, and Lana Del Rey, Chan Marshall applies her style with the deftness and grace of fingertips trailing in the water.
Opening with a measured version of Frank Ocean’s ‘Bad Religion’, Chan brings a biblical greatness to the careful, studied calm of the original. From her dusky cover of Dead Man’s Bones’ ‘Pa Pa Power’ to the majesty of her steadfast vocals in her version of The Pogues’ ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’, she deals with the songs she chooses with care and style.
The selection itself might proffer an interesting and perhaps disparate selection of songs, but she ties them all together with her trademark blue jean casualness and suave, growling take on melancholy. The obvious point of difference in the collection is ‘Unhate’, a cover of herself; a reworking of 2006’s ‘Hate’. The progression from then to now is most notably one of maturity, the new version seeing the overt darkness of the first recording melting into something that breathes a little more freely.
It matches the general tone of the album – one that basks in a new kind of lightness, finding gentleness in even the darkest subjects. Be it the noir glamour of ‘I Had a Dream, Joe’ or the lullaby serenity of ‘These Days’, ‘Covers’ showcases a timely ability to slow down and take a moment for yourself.