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Sun

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

Price: £9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Sept. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MATADOR.
  • ASIN: B008CDPRIC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

“It’s up to you to be a superhero / It’s up to you to be like nobody,” sings Chan Marshall on Sun’s penultimate song, Nothin but Time: a very different sentiment to the kind that peppered 2006’s The Greatest, her last album of original material.

On that record’s most striking moments, Marshall sounded weary and mired in longing, her voice set against a rich backdrop of Memphis soul and Delta blues. Six years later it’s all about self-empowerment for the singer – Sun was played, produced and recorded almost entirely by Marshall herself. It exemplifies, as she puts it: “Don’t look back, pick up, and go confidently into your own future, to personal power and fulfilment.”

As such, the smoky, languid arrangements of The Greatest and 2008’s Jukebox are cast aside in favour of a bright electronic sheen which is most apparent on Sun’s title track, a pulsating collage of multi-tracked vocals and synth. It takes a few listens and a pair of headphones to really settle in; likewise the strobing electronics of Real Life, over which Marshall expounds the virtues of an “unordinary life”. If there is nothing here as instantly transfixing as some of her past work, Sun comes alive on closer listening, revealing myriad depths and unexpected vocal turns.

When this production nous is matched to songs like the breathless travelogue Ruin, the spooky Always on My Own or the warped romp Silent Machine, Sun makes for fine listening. Like Fiona Apple with The Idler Wheel…, Marshall has evidently rediscovered her sense of adventure – though while Apple accomplished this by stripping her music almost bare, Marshall has done so by revelling in the flourishes, the particulars.

Perhaps because of this, Sun is ultimately lacking as a cohesive LP. Nothin But Time stretches itself over 11 minutes (not even a cameo by a patriarchal Iggy Pop can stop it straying into over-indulgence), while the closing Peace and Love sounds like something from another record entirely; too vampy, too busy to make an impact.

Sun remains a brave and adventurous change in direction, but in not playing to her strengths and focusing on the minutiae instead of the bigger picture, Marshall is shorn of the intangible magic and emotional force she can summon at her best.

--Jeanette Leech

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Customer Reviews

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I read a couple of negative reviews about this album, so I wasn't sure what to expect. This is much closer to the rich, multilayered sound of The Greatest and Jukebox than, say, Moon Pix, but in this case the instruments you'll notice most are drums and synthesizer. Apparently (according to comments Cat Power made in an interview), she wanted to push herself musically and do something she hadn't done before, which is why she deliberately tossed the stuff she'd written on guitar, and sat down with a synthesizer to play around with some new sounds. Thanks to their presence, this IS a different-sounding album. At the same time, though, there is still a darkness to even the most up-tempo songs, so the music is very reminiscent of the "southern gothic" sound of Powers' previous albums. I thought several songs sounded futuristic--like something you might hear in a movie while looking at a dark, rainy, Blade Runner-esque landscape, or perhaps as the soundtrack while someone walks into a dark nightclub.

I have eclectic tastes and so I was quite pleased with the purchase; as soon as I finished listening to the album the first time around, I put it on again. I never thought I'd hear Cat Power playing around with auto tune, but that and all the other electronic bells and whistles work. She's got a great hear for music and, of course, a great voice, which is a combo that is hard to beat.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After "The Greatest", this is a welcome return to form ... can't fault it, hauntingly beautiful. Didn't get off on "Jukebox", apart from a couple of excellent songs, but on this one she is back to her best.
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Format: Audio CD
The track 'Human Being' was used in an episode of CSI and brought Cat Power to my attention but sadly I didn't connect with the rest of this album. I far preferred 'The Greatest' which was bought as an afterthought at the same time and I'm very glad I did.
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Format: Audio CD
When Cat Power named her 2006 album The Greatest, I got the feeling she was being ironically self-deprecating, that's not because it wasn't a brilliant album, it was In fact one of the standouts of that year and even won her the Shortlist Music Prize. It's just that Chan marshall's not particularly well known for being a self-assured or conceited individual, so I'd just figured she was having an inside joke with her devout listeners who'd have no problem spotting the tongue firmly in her cheek.

With the completion of Cat Power's latest album Sun, coinciding with her split from boyfriend Giovanni Ribisi, I anticipated a brutal and bitter break up record here and once again saw the title as another demonstration of Chan's wryness. There's no misdirection going on though, Sun sounds precisely how you'd think an album would sound with that title; vibrant, positive and above all wonderfully accessible.

The Instruments on Sun are what make it sound so virile and energetic, bright Synthesizers and trip hop beats are often laced with lovely piano motifs and lightly distorted guitar. This doesn't turn the album into a saccharin love-in though, Chan's soulful alto hasn't disappeared (even if it is modulated at times) and her lyrics can still be dark and brooding on here too. The albums actually begins with lyrics about Death and resigned disappointment on opener "Cherokee" but Cat Power sounds so defiant and invigorated when she's singing them, especially when the danceable electronic beat comes in a third of the way through to accompany her.

"3,6,9" is really where her new direction becomes most apparent, the use of autotune and the boom bap beats will perhaps intially alarm a few diehards who thinks she's diluted her forlorn essence in favour of gimmicky pop dalliances.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
C.M did it again and it is the best creation for her entire career in music. such a great album
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Format: Audio CD
Given Sun is Chan Marshall's first proper album for six years and comes off the back of a breakup with her long-term partner, we perhaps might have expected an awkward album out of time and place. A hybrid of sultry electronics and determined rock, Sun however is having none of it and Marshall is back it would seem to put contemporaries such as Joan As Police Woman and St. Vincent in their place.

All the same, there will undoubtedly be some that bemoan Marshall's evolution from sparse singer-songwriting into today's svelte song-craft, but those same people may find some solace here in "Human Being" in which Marshall puts that smoky folk whisper of hers to good use, but quite what these people will make of the track's juxtaposition of echoing acoustic strumming and fizzy synth bass pulses in anyone's guess. And there are more challenges for the reticent too. For example, the title track is but dark casing for a panning spotlight of synth, Marshall even experimenting with a spatter of auto-tune towards its close, though it must be said more in line with the tasteful application of Poliça than its more usual chart usage.

Although there's a few unremarkable mid-order moments and, earlier, the stepping dither of "3,6,9" overdoes its heavy repeats, Sun does house some real highlights. Politicised single "Ruin" twins a dancing piano line with infectious bass bounce, superlative guitar chatter and some strong melodies. The dreamy drum machine pitter-patter and slo-mo piano footfall of "Manhattan" is all very dignified too, and the solid "Cherokee" is a busy template full of drum machine clicks, woozy synth and stirring piano loops that combine for a great outro framed by militaristic drum rolls.

It's the tail end of Sun's running order that really steals the show however.
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