Cat Power, "Maybe Not", from You Are Free. This may be her best album, where she dumped the last vestiges of her punk-ish early music and went straight minimalist melancholy without the ornations that hide the bones of The Greatest. She never has drums where a few chords will do. She never has chords where a single note would do. The only constant is her smoky voice, singing enigmatic lyrics that often obscure more than inform.
The result is hauntingly beautiful, like the Southern landscape from which Chan Marshall came, with the exception of "Names" which is simply chilling. Is any of it true? Does it really matter? When she sings "we can all be free/maybe not with words/maybe not with a look/but with your mind", does she believe it, or is she being ironic? It's never entirely clear what Chan's up to, but it is an experience that stands repeated listening well.
This particular performance is during Chan's drinking days. I don't know the whole story of why Dave isn't introducing her, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that Chan was so staggering drunk that she could barely make it to the piano. She apparently had a psychotic break shortly thereafter, got the right drugs, dried out and got off the booze, and made a couple of albums which aren't so great -- but she's happy now, which she wasn't for a long time. I'm glad for her, but sometimes I selfishly wish we could have gotten another last glimpse of brilliance before she became boring...
-- Badtux the Music Penguin