Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 166
Sat. June 22, 2012

“King Rides By [new version]”
Cat Power

“♫ Oh, what a
fuss when the king
rides/ straight to my
heart/ and straight
through my
life/ […] Need your
love/ more than
you’ll ever love/
more than you’ll
ever know

Did you know that Cat Power recorded her critically acclaimed Jukebox LP in Miami, the same home of NBA’s Miami Heat? Speaking of, an NBA King was crowned in South Beach on Thursday night. Not my choice player but I could still appreciate how joyful LeBron James looked holding that championship trophy. There was no bitterness, no anger or retribution for any of the vitriol James had endured for the past nine years. James may deserved the criticism but that’s all part of past, he struggled, he overcame and because of this— James proved something, a lesson to the kids, greatness is not given it is earned by hard work and dedication. You could feel the renewed unbridled enthusiasm on display last night that James rediscovered for his favorite game as he walked off the court, Lebron was finally a World Champion. Congratulations King LeBron James.

Speaking of kings—I’ve had Cat Power’s “King Rides By” revolving in my head all day. But not the tender original from 2006’s What Would The Community Think, I prefer the new wickedly, tripped out-hip hop version Chan Marshall re-recorded for charity. Speaking of Championship athletes, boxer Manny Pacquiao stars in music video of the revamped version of “King Rides By.” Like the lesson LeBron learned in Miami, through hard work and perseverance will you be the champion in your respective field.

When Chan Marshall was asked if she listens to her back catalog, I liken it to athletes who avoid looking at the highlights of their early career, they probably would share Cat Power’s same honest comeback, when she explained—“I couldn’t do it. It’d be too excruciating… I’d see someone trying to find their voice; someone who really wants to be a writer or a painter or something. It’d be like hearing someone who loves singing, who could sing completely comfortably when she was a little kid — any fuckin’ song and have a great time — but when it’s her song, she’s not really singing. At all. And I hear… just fear. A lot of fear.”

Did you read that? Even the great Chan Marshall, who’s more famous stage name is Cat Power, has fear? What about LeBron James or Manny Pacquiao? Do you think those guys feel fear? Of course they do but, unlike many of us, Marshall, James and Pacquiao all channel their doubts into redemptive logs that feed their passionate fire into their personal flame of greatness.

I’m tired of reading those he cliched complaints about how Cat Power pen’s depressing epics, which is complete nonsense. If that’s what you think you’re hearing Chan’s music with deaf ears. Wake up, fools!

Listen again to “King Rides By” there’s a sense of empowerment in Marshall’s lyrics but her vocal is wicked and biting which makes the message, to me, kind of uncomfortable strange but I kind of like this challenging aspect of her brilliantly honest music.

They’re not sad, they’re triumphant.” Marshall said insisting, in Elizabeth Goodman’s book, Cat Power: A Good Woman that her music is too misunderstood to be heartbreaking.
“King Rides By” is about “accepting pain and celebrating the fact that you’re strong enough to survive it. There’s a realization and acceptance, which is a kind of triumph […] and that gives you some kind of strength.”

Speaking of overcoming personal adversity, Cat Power has persevered and succeeds throughout her illustrious music career. Marshall describes the difference she feels creating music now when she said—“The biggest change is probably something you can’t hear on the albums — it’s something that happens live. When I was six, I was singing [Kenny Rogers’] “The Gambler” onto a cassette for my grandmother. Now when I’m onstage, I’m singing the same way, singing from happiness. My songs always sounded triumphant to me, but they never sounded triumphant to other people because I was always insecure about my abilities.”

The lesson for children of all ages is conquering your own personal demons who doubt you every step of the way? Do you think LeBron James, Manny Pacquiao or even Cat Power have always been this beloved? No matter how popular or famous you become, half of the public is going to not care or worse totally despise you for being successful. That’s one of the downfalls for being a public star in your own private field.

Marshall proudly admits—“there’s no mystery at all. When I was 21, I wanted to do interviews because I wanted to save the world. I still do. But half the time I’m still trying to save myself first.” For those aiming for greatness that’s the key. Save and reward yourself for your craft. The secret of life is do what you love, whatever its, do it the best, most passionately, and cherish it and everything else with fall into place. If you are doing what you love, even for gratis, don’t you realize—you’ve already won. You’ve found peace with a voice of expression in your life. Everything else is just cherries on top.

So open your ears and all honor the greatness of Chan Marshall, a champion chanteuse in her own right. Just like James in pro basketball and professional boxer Pacquiao, Cat Power is the star on her stage because she found her passion within the voice of her music. Turn on Cat’s “King Rides By” and you will hear some powerfully, beautiful rhythms that will linger like the sweetest lyrical kiss; you will definitely want to relive the exquisiteness of Cat Power’s “King Rides By”—again and again.

Which version of Cat Power’s “King Rides By?” do you prefer?

2011’s more electric, tripped out hip hop version?

or 2006’s, low key, tender original?

You decide!
Long Live Cat Power!