17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This is just fantastic, and I can't believe that Cat Power isn't better known in this country, with lyrics and melodies as simple as a fire, and just this brooding presence to all her songs. It is a dark album at times, which is great to be sullen to, but the offbeat guitars of He War and Free provide the originality I crave when music all sounds the same. I read that...
Published on 10 Aug 2004 by Wily Manc
8 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More hype than substance
I'm sorry, but I just don't get it - Cat Power - loved by the critics - but why?
The music is extremely simplistic - a few musical phrases repeated endlessly. There is the occasional flourish and song moving in an unexpected direction, which generate the 2 star rating, but otherwise not much. When she moves away from basic guitar or keyboard then the songs begin to...
Published on 23 July 2004 by simonf
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)This is just fantastic, and I can't believe that Cat Power isn't better known in this country, with lyrics and melodies as simple as a fire, and just this brooding presence to all her songs. It is a dark album at times, which is great to be sullen to, but the offbeat guitars of He War and Free provide the originality I crave when music all sounds the same. I read that she's a favourite of the Manc(ish) singer songwriter Jane Weaver, and if you like her dark and twisted lullabies, you'll love Cat Power too.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping angst carnival,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)Chen Marshall has stepped onto another plane with this stunning collection of haunted songs. Stripped bare and creaking like an old derelict museum, the album bleaches your soul and leaves you with a sense of exhausted elation. There are enough upbeat numbers like "Shaking Paper" and "He War" to satify diversity. But these merely put flesh on the bones of a body whose ghostly visage turns sepia pages of thought and memory. Songs like "Names" and "Good Woman" can reduce you to tears at 20 paces.
Wholly recommended. Nobody or nothing sounds like the Cat. A landmark release.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)This is without a doubt my favourite Cat Power album. Some claim Moon Pix is best, The Greatest has got her most recent acclaim, but to listen to, this is surely the most enjoyable. I was recommended Cat Power and bought this album first, and was completely blown away. It's beautiful, and Chan Marshall has such a beautiful, individual voice that blends perfectly with her lovely piano and acoustic guitar melodies. So many songs on here are amazing, particular the opener, "I Don't Blame You", with a gorgeous piano intro, the guitar-driven "Free" and "He War", and my particular favourite, the poignant and sad but stunningly beautiful "Good Woman". If you've heard of Cat Power and want to get into her, but are not sure which album to start with, I would say this is the ideal opener.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow dive,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)Chan Marshall's voice is as distinctive as her song writing. Seemingly loose and in disarray, these songs have slow purpose, gradually revealed on repeated listenings. The first half or so is as "produced" an album as Cat Power is likely to make. Mostly, though, it's pretty spartan (guitar, piano, very "minimalist" and effective drumming from Dave Grohl on a couple of tracks).
Is that why it seems to run out of ideas towards the end? "Names", for instance, is too long and repetitive for its (clearly sincere) material. Sometimes, too, the songs rely on just the originality of her voice to hold our interest.
So, it's a little too long to be listened to straight through ... but, it's still a wonderful record by a treasurable artist. If it's your first Cat Power experience, you will be powerless to resist getting the previous albums.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicately beautiful,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)Cat Power a.k.a. Chan Marshall has come a long way since Myra Lee, her debut 1996 album. She possesses a voice, which sounds like beautiful honesty, its incredibly raw and rings out over the minimal guitar or piano. In fact her voice creates a careful blend with the music, in which they both interweave with one another creating this perfect harmony.
I first heard Cat Power, when I bought the album Moon Pix, after discovering the recommendation on Amazon. Moon Pix stimulated my interest, because at the time I was listening to a lot of indie folk and this was something different, it had something, which many bands never had. I enjoyed the album so much I had to hear more, so when You Are Free was released, I was quick to make the purchase.
While Moon Pix contained many great songs, I think You Are Free is certainly a step forward, Chan's delicate voice has progressed and she has begun to show the huge range of her talents. The opening track is such a perfect beginning to a superb journey across the music she has created. Minimal, vibrant piano accompanied by her effortless vocals in I Don't Blame You, sliding beautifully into the next song, Free, switching piano for guitar, in a sequential system.
You Are Free epitomises Chan's talent as she transcends into a more mature sound, ranging from the playful, Free, to the dark folky sounds of Fool, to the haunting minimalism exposed in closing track, Evolution. Excellent folk, blues, performed to perfection, and I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Songs: Ohia, Fancie, Jen Wood etc. but remember this is a truly unique, original album.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight into my top 10,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)For the voice; take the bluesy drawl of Ricky Lee Jones, the folky angst of Beth Orton and add a smidgeon of Nina Simone.
For the music; think Will Oldham, Bill Callahan and perhaps just a touch of Leonard Cohen.
It's emotional, it's intelligent and it's utterly addictive.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple. Stunning.,
By A Customer
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)Just a quick review. Ignore the review from Madrid. This guy surely has listened to the wrong album. This album is stunning. Sung with confidence and understated beauty, if you're going to introduce yourself to this much underated artist, this is a fine place to start. Other reviews here do her justice. Highly recommended from me. Be prepared for a big splashout soon and nights asleep on the sofa...you wont make it to bed! This should be given out with birth certificates.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat Rules,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)Cat Power is the best new (to me) artist I discovered in 2005, and I am now greedily buying everything I can by her band. Her music is endlessly confident and good. 'Free' the title track is this wonderful funky acerbic song..I think of it as sung by a kid raised on a commune with a lifelong suspicion of hippies...or maybe a paen to the joys of free music downloading...but whatever it has the most lovely relentless acoustic guitar driving it...you can hear the wire and slide of the strings, that's part of the beat...oh buy this album. Get some Cat Power into your life - take a chance.
4.0 out of 5 stars i love cat power,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)the album arrived really quick. i really like the album my favourite is either He War or Fool. Cat Power is amazing!
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat at her best,
This review is from: You Are Free (Audio CD)I have this categorising system on itunes, where if I really love a track I give it a 5star, and I if I like it a lot, a 4star. This is one of about four albums out of over a thousand albums where every single track makes it into these categories. This is a consistently great album.
This is Cat Power at her absolute best. Beautifully soulful in every movement she makes, reflective, melancholy and an adult. She is an absurdly talented songwriter and head and heels above the vast majority of other singer-songwriters. For me, she has subsequently declined from the folk-soul goddess of this album, but here is the Cat Power that has broke too many hearts and broken from lo-fi melancholia into the mainstream.
I can't pick a stand out track, because they all are.
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