Cat Power - You Are Free

By liz

"Just because they knew your name,
Doesn't mean they know from where you came."
- I Don't Blame You

Chan Marshall has always had a raw and emotional voice that leaves her a glow in a wash of power. 'You Are Free' is her first new material in almost four years, and she's more confident and calculated than with her 1998 release 'Moon Pix'. Beauty in haunted melody and frantic strings; Alluring ballads as addiction itself.

Give a strong woman a guitar and you'll hear about Liz Phair, Anna Waronker, and a bunch of riot grrls. I don't care to do that. Chan can stand on her own two feet. She may not be the best woman out there with a guitar in hand, but her song writing ability is touchingly personal, even if her lyrics don't always tell a succinct story. There's no affect to Chan's voice. There's nothing but unadulterated emotion and truth to her tones, which makes his album so endearing and hard to take out of the cd player without just one more listen... or five. The honesty of "You Are Free" is clean and refreshing in this world of overloaded sound and convoluted noise. Everyone seems to be screaming to be heard... yet all Chan needs to do is whisper to get noticed.

"Come along Fool, a direct hit in the senses, you're disconnected"

This is not a perfect disc but only because it runs a bit long. The last 2 or 3 songs are not 'unnecessary' per say, but they are a bit much since they aren't quite as strong as the rest of the cd. A song like 'Keep on Runnin'' just doesn't have the same power as 'Fool' or 'Speak For Me'. The albums' minute faults only make it all the more real. It may be early to call this, but this is a contender for Album of the Year.