Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 242
Tues. Sept 11, 2012
I finally had the chance to experience Chan Marshall’s, aka the artist better known as Cat Power’s, brand new Sun CD this past weekend. After a few spins, I can truly say my favorite track is Marshall’s epic “Nothin’ But Time.” The theme of “Time” is trying to discover the empowerment within you. We’ve all been there, unable to stand up because we’re trapped in trips of trepidation; but Marshall’s voicing invincibility for all the invisible frustration of unbridled voices everywhere. Cat Power described the transformation of her own voice, while recording Sun, when she said, “[I have been] empowering myself to realize that no other human, no matter who it is, can invalidate my way of thinking. I’m triumphing over all the different ways in my life I’ve been invalidated and I can still smile and laugh and know that in my heart I’m making the right choices for myself. Maybe somebody else doesn’t agree but that’s not my problem.”
“Nothin’ But Time” was written by Marshall during her time living in Silverlake with her now infamous former beau.““Nothing But Time,” I wrote for my ex’s daughter, Lucia, who’s a teenager; when we lived together, she was dealing with some online bullying.” Marshall said in an interview with Ross Simonini.
“Time” is Marshall’s triumph in epic proportions. Using the backing beat inspired by David Bowie’s “Heroes” as a canvas, this template inspired Marshall to sing an anthem for not only Lucia but anyone suffering from bullying. Cat Power explained how “Time” came to light in that same interview with Simonini, “Yeah, there’s this thing called Formspring. Teens and preteens can go and become members with their Facebook accounts and join anonymously, and you can say whatever fucking shit you want to say to whomever. It’s often really hurtful stuff. It was a big deal a couple of years ago. So she was going through that, and I wrote that song for her. And at the time, she had fallen in love with Ziggy Stardust, so I called David Bowie and Iggy Pop to sing on the song. David said no, but Iggy said yes.”
I love the fact that “Nothin’” grows throughout it’s ten plus minute existence. The Bowie flavored backing rhythms sound like a heartbeats and Marshall’s commanding vocal are sparks of liberation that lifting you as it flows directly to Iggy’s famous croon. Pop’s contribution is perfect for “Nothin’ but Time.” We know it sounds like Bowie but having Iggy is a nod to say all the freaky geeks and strange ones are linked together by the power of music. Speaking of, kudos for the “Suspicious Minds” nod at the coda of “Time,” the subtle brilliance of combining both an Elvis and Bowie tribute in the same song is nothing short of genius.
Even though Marshall is surpassing her weighty expectations there’s still hints of vulnerability and self-doubt seeping within her as she explained to NPR when she said, “I still haven’t been able to capture the joy of what it’s like when I sing — you know, when I’m by myself, or like when I was a little kid. … For me, the moment the mic is on and it’s rolling, it’s impossible to vocally relax for some reason. But one day, I’m going to be able to sing the way I sang when I was a little kid, completely open and free. That’s, I think, the one thing that’s changed: Growing older, I’m not ashamed to hear my voice.”
Marshall’s voice sounds freer than it has in years. It goes to show when you sing and let out all those emotions turbulent or otherwise, amazing songs can happen. “Nothin’ but Time” is Cat Power’s “Heroes” like anthem for teens dealing with bullying. When Cat Power sings with such command and honesty, Marshall personifies the voices of the youth of America. “Nothin’ but Time” reflects to the kids who are struggling in the shadows with identity. Everyone can feed off Marshall’s moving and lyrically empowering groove. Sun and specifically “Nothin’ but Time” is definitely one of the most memorable and inspiring chapters in the long and everlasting saga in the brilliant song life of Cat Power.
You can stream Cat Power’s Sun here, in all her glory, on The Guardian UK’s website.
And for the latest news, interviews and photos of Chan Marshall check out, HellYeahCatPower, one of the best sites for anything Cat Power.