CAT POWER: You Are Free: CD

You Are Free, Cat Power’s first album of new material in almost four years, shimmers with beautiful and fragile lyrics that dance over sparse instrumentation and simple, but-in-a-good-way, hooks. Tiny moments of strength and confidence are tackled by feelings of confusion and heartbreak. This is Chan Marshall; full of struggle, dazzling purity and seething bitterness. And for all of the mixed emotions her music stirs inside, it at least does that – it feels. It feels all inner conflict that we experience, but are too afraid to confront. On “Good Woman,” her voice trembles, “I don’t want to be a bad woman, and I can’t stand to see you be a bad man.” Creating music, even in it’s most stripped-down form, she still has the power to make you ache. But You Are Free is more than just blue; it’s spilling over with warm and fuzzy songs – practically stretching its arms around “Moon Pix” and giving it a great, big hug. The simplicity of “Free,” soft rocking of “Speak for Me,” and the “hey, hey, heys!” of “He War,” conjure up the word, dare I say, pop. Not in a Blondie kinda way. Think more fucked-up. Like the devastating pop of The Velvet Underground. But I wouldn’t kick back and enjoy the sunshine just yet. Just when you think you are free, Chan Marshall has a way of creeping back to haunt your head.  –kat (Matador)