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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Marshall, Nash release solid albums full of old, new content”

    Marshall, Nash release solid albums full of old, new content

    Cat Power – Matador

    A love-hate relationship is common with Cat Power’s music. The artistic outlet for 36-year-old Chan Marshall has been littered with both successful and dull cover songs, and striking and monotone original tracks. Her latest release, Jukebox, finds a jazzier Marshall tackling songs originally recorded by herself, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, and presenting the covers in a generally solid and interesting fashion.

    The theme from “”New York, New York”” unfortunately opens the album like a bad karaoke version of the original. The song has become so iconic that it makes for a difficult challenge to record the track in a way that would cause it to shine. Marshall’s version does not disassociate itself from the original, sadly making for a lackluster performance that belongs more on “”American Idol”” than on this release.

    “”Ramblin’ (Wo)man”” rings of a true Cat Power nature: full of emotion as Marshall eeks out the lyrics. Unlike the original by Hank Williams, only a bit of country twang squeezes its way into her voice, although the alto notes Marshall sings are similar to Williams’ tenor. The track sounds nothing like the Williams version due to the jazzy feel emphasized by strong drums, a technique that benefits this cover.

    “”I Believe in You”” is arguably the best cover on Jukebox. The track was originally on Slow Train Coming, the first album released by Bob Dylan since he had become a born-again Christian. The religious themes are obvious in the lyrics (“”I believe in you even through the tears and the laughter/ I believe in you even though we be apart””), but Marshall’s rendition doesn’t come across as a religious song due to the backing instruments; the piano in the Dylan original is replaced with guitars and drums in Marshall’s version.

    The album closes with “”Blue,”” a similar disappointment to “”New York, New York.”” The track seems like an odd way to end the album as most of the song is spent with reverberating keyboard notes shining over Marshall. While the original gave Joni Mitchell’s voice top billing, Marshall takes a backseat to the instruments.

    Jukebox is not the best release from Cat Power, but it isn’t the worst either. It serves as a good introduction to some lesser-known tracks by big artists, and provides a lengthy listen: The album includes a limited edition bonus disc, full of Marshall’s covers of songs by Hot Boys, Moby Grape, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Patsy Cline and Roberta Flack.

    -Jamie Ross

    Made of Bricks
    Kate Nash – Fiction

    It can be refreshing when an artist blurts out lyrics that seem unfitting to instrumental aspects of a song, or even unrelated to the lyrics that came before them. Kate Nash doesn’t seem to filter her thoughts before she sings them, but her attitude and glass-clear voice contribute the bursts of vulgarity and cursing to a smooth execution.

    Now released in the U.S., Made of Bricks is a piano-infused album that the British Nash uses to speak her mind and push back at the men who push her around.

    The hit track “”Foundations”” builds with piano and GarageBand beats into a catchy chorus that showcases Nash’s flawless vocals that sound like they are perfectly enunciated. Her frank lyrics illustrate her frustration with a significant other as she bluntly sings “”Then you’ll call me a bitch/ and everyone we’re with will be/ embarrassed and I won’t give a shit.””

    “”Mouthwash”” is equally catchy and features Nash describing parts of her body like her face and her mind through impressive vocal ranges. The song builds fantastically for over a minute with laid over tracks of Nash’s rising and falling voice, driving drums and high-pitched piano, which breaks off into a solo that wanes and ends the song.

    The aforementioned tracks may be hard to live up to, especially considering songs like “”Dickhead.”” It is just a bluesy diss to a significant other with stripped instrumental elements and bare vocals.

    Nash expresses her need for purely physical aspects of attraction in “”Pumpkin Soup,”” which is upbeat and has spurts of horn flare and thudding drum beats.

    And though Nash may be versed in telling you like it is in a forward fashion, she shows diversity in “”Nicest Thing.”” Crooning brokenly over a violin, Nash expresses her desire to belong to an anonymous someone, “”I wish you thought I was the reason you are in the world.””

    It’s due time for Made of Bricks to be released in the U.S., and for Nash’s outspoken quality to be embraced through a guise of exquisite vocals.

    ?Kelli Hart

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