Cat Power is an artist whom I’d neglected to really give the time of day for many years. Though that may be because the first time I tried listening to one of her albums was back in 2006 with her album Jukebox, which was a cover album, and therefore not necessarily the best introduction to her. But in the wake of Cat Power’s latest release I decided to check out some of her other albums, and compared to those, Wanderer is a nice late-career entry in her catalog, but not really much of a revelation.
Which to be fair, is fine. Chan Marshall has such a fantastic, tender voice that listening to her sing anything is going to be at least mildly heartbreaking. And listening to her sing these more sparsely-produced songs, she still sounds quite raw, even if her newfound motherhood (which the album’s cover commemorates) might hint at something more docile.
Granted, this album is a bit docile in a way, since it features a lot of the folk-y melancholy of her earlier work. Which doesn’t quite sound as interesting to me as the breakthrough of the more dance-pop oriented Chan Marshall we heard on her last album Sun. Still, the album has its moments, the most memorable being “Woman”, a collaboration with Lana Del Rey. Which is another artist who seems just as good at Marshall at mining beautiful miserabilism, and whom I’ve probably listened to less than I should.