The Covers Record

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The Covers Record
Studio album by Cat Power
Released March 21, 2000
Recorded Summer, 1998-November, 1999
Genre Indie rock
Length 40:58
Label Matador
Cat Power chronology
Moon Pix
(1998)
The Covers Record
(2000)
You Are Free
(2003)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B+[2]
Mojo 4.5/5 stars[3]
NME 7/10 stars[4]
Pitchfork Media (7.6/10)[5]
Q 2/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
Salon (positive)[8]
Spin (A)[9]

The Covers Record is the fifth album by American singer-songwriter Cat Power (a.k.a. Chan Marshall). It was released in 2000 on Matador Records.

The album consists almost entirely of cover songs, along with a new version of Marshall's song "In this Hole," which initially appeared on Cat Power's 1996 album, What Would the Community Think.

Background[edit]

According to Cat Power: A Good Woman by Elizabeth Goodman, the success of Cat Power’s fourth album, Moon Pix (1998), led to high expectations for her follow-up, and made it difficult for her to live what she called “a normal life.”[10] She elected to release an album of covers in part because she felt more comfortable playing covers than her own material.[10] Between Moon Pix and what became The Covers Record, she scheduled a number of solo shows during which she played only covers. In order to take attention away from herself, she projected the 1928 French silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc behind her onstage.

Marshall’s decision to release a covers album was disappointing to Matador, who considered her a “genius songwriter” and wanted to capitalize on the success of Moon Pix.[10] According to Gerard Cosloy, the promotional campaign for the The Covers Record, which he calls “a great album,” was intentionally “muted,” in order to allow the album to “find its audience.”[10] However, Marshall saw The Covers Record as a personal and important release, and interpreted this as lack of faith on the record company’s behalf in the record’s ability to connect with her audience.[10]

Marshall's contract for The Covers Record was allegedly drafted on the spot on a Post-it note.[10]

Recording[edit]

The Covers Record features sparse instrumentation, with only Marshall on vocals and guitar or piano. The song “Salty Dog” features guitar by American musician Matt Sweeney.

The album was recorded at Night Owl Studios, Kampo Studios and Rare Book Room Studios, in New York City, in 1998 and 1999. According to Marshall, “I ended up in the studio recording with this young man at this place called Night Owl Studios across from Penn Station. I did most of the songs there just very, very, very, very quickly, and there’s like four songs that are from different recording sessions.”[10]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone called the album "a stopgap" until the release of her next album of original material, but cited her stripped-down version of Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" as "powerful."[11] Spin called the album "essential," and wrote, "With only a guitar or piano, and a voice that is developing into one of the most expressive in rock, Marshall crafts deeply textured explorations of heartache, terror, longing, dismay, and emotions I'm pretty sure I've not found yet.... Rock will see few finer releases this year."[9]

Foo Fighters singer and guitarist/ ex-Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl cited the album in a 2000 issue of NME, saying, "'Satisfaction' is the hit off that record, or so everybody thinks. But for me, it's that Velvet Underground song, 'I Found A Reason.' It's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. My favourite."[12] Grohl would work with Marshall on Cat Power's subsequent release, You Are Free (2003).

In 2005 the album was performed live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series.

Several songs on the album have been used in films, including ""I Found a Reason" (Saving Face, Dandelion and V for Vendetta) and "Sea of Love" (Juno).

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Original artist(s) Length
1. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"   Mick Jagger, Keith Richards The Rolling Stones 3:05
2. "Kingsport Town"   Traditional Bob Dylan 4:54
3. "Troubled Waters"   Sam Coslow, Arthur Johnston Mae West & Duke Ellington 3:29
4. "Naked If I Want To"   Jerry A. Miller Jr. Moby Grape 2:47
5. "Sweedeedee"   Michael Hurley Michael Hurley 3:53
6. "In This Hole"   Chan Marshall Cat Power 4:26
7. "I Found a Reason"   Lou Reed Velvet Underground 2:00
8. "Wild Is the Wind"   Dimitri Tiomkin, Ned Washington Johnny Mathis 4:10
9. "Red Apples"   Bill Callahan Smog 4:24
10. "Paths of Victory"   Bob Dylan Bob Dylan 3:24
11. "Salty Dog"   Traditional Papa Charlie Jackson 2:07
12. "Sea of Love"   Philip Baptiste, George Khoury Phil Phillips 2:19

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album - Billboard

Year Chart Position
2000 Heatseekers 44

Rhapsody (online music service) praised the album, calling it one of their favorite cover albums.[13]

External links[edit]

References[edit]