Friday, January 01, 2010

We can all be free

Happy New Year. Or maybe not.

Which is the title of the song, "Maybe Not", by Cat Power (Chan Marshall), off of the album You Are Free. She doesn't seem to think so, BTW -- not even in your mind. Dripping with 90's cynicism in conflict with faded idealism. A perfect song to usher in the new year, even though I've posted it before here.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. Happy New Year Badtux the Music Penguin, Snarky Penguin, etc. And, a Happy New Year to all your readers. Thanks for the esoteric music, humor, and many other niceties.

  2. lust a little comment about the best song of cat power, she is speaking of hope, she is saying that we CAN be free in our minds even if we dont look free "but in your mind"

  3. I think Chan left it deliberately vague as to whether she was being ironic or not. Given how hard she has struggled to free her mind from what was done to her as a child, yes, she hopes, but whether it is to be achieved... well. Maybe not.

    And yes, I am aware of what Chan says in interviews. One thing to remember, however, is that Chan is a Southern storyteller. The narrative is more important than literal facts to a Southern storyteller, thus the narrative she always tells about how she moved to a drug-riddled part of New York City to... escape drugs? Err, probably not -- probably she moved to NYC because she realized all she was ever going to do with her music in Atlanta was play gigs for beer in local dives, and NYC was the place to be to make it in the music business in that era so when the opportunity arose she jumped at it. But that doesn't agree with the narrative she presents to interviewers of the accidental music star so that's not the story she tells. Songwriters deal in Truth with a capital T, not literal truth with a small t, and if a fact doesn't agree with the narrative, you just toss the fact and invent something. Thus while I might have known a kid who drove a car into a bridge pylon to commit suicide, the actual facts of that incident were quite different from the narrative I created for my song about a kid driving a car into a bridge pylon to commit suicide, which had an entirely different set invented "facts" that, well, I *made up* because that's what songwriters do.

    Is anything Chan says in interviews literally true or not? Chan is a very imaginative and creative woman and after so many years of reinventing herself every so often (which you can track in her published interviews where you can watch the narrative she creates shift over the years), I doubt even Chan knows the answer to that question.


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.