Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Chan Marshall a.k.a. Cat Power, during her "mess" days. She was an adorable young lady who didn't know it, like many products of abusive and unstable homes, and likely was so drunk when this was recorded that she could barely stand because that is the only way she could drown the feelings of unworthiness enough to brave the lights. She is much happier now thanks to sobriety and antidepressants and years of healing that have buried the scars deep under layers of experience, but has lost something with that happiness, her latest music seems curiously bland. Still, I cannot feel bad about that. Everybody deserves to have some time of happiness in their life.

This song is about her abortion. She says. It's never quite certain whether Chan is telling you the truth, the truth as she has re-written it in her mind over the past two decades, or simply making things up that she thinks you want to hear. I doubt whether even she knows what's true anymore, after so many years of surviving by telling people what they wanted to hear in order to get what she needed to get out of them to survive.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. J. Arthur "Boodie" Ravenscroft7/10/09 3:43 AM

    Thanks for this, BT. I had not been familiar with this talented young lady. Very compelling performance.

  2. She is fantastic. My number 2 singer after Tina Turner. Only met her once about 10 years ago and recognized the pain and heartache and never approached her again. Great voice. I thought I had all of her music but this is new to me.


  3. This is off of her third album, _What would the Community Think_, which was her first album released on a "real" label (if Matador can be considered "real"). The "official" video is on YouTube too.

    There are those who consider Chan's "mess" period to have been an act, pointing out that in the midst of this supposed mental breakdown she was playing over 100 shows a year that she was arranging herself (she had no manager), apparently worked a pretty decent deal with Matador despite having no agent, and was making a living from her music, all of which is difficult to do for sober and sane musicians much less one who is supposedly a drunken mess. I think these people simply do not understand the survival skills that bright kids from abusive and unstable homes develop from necessity, and in particular the entire "steel magnolia" syndrome that can happen in the South, where girls learn they can manipulate men by feigning weakness. Chan manipulated a lot of people to survive, but that doesn't mean she was hurting any less. I'm glad that she appears to have found some level of happiness now, but I suspect that if you dug dig enough, you'd still find the scars and the pain, just buried deep enough under new experiences that they don't hurt much anymore.


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