I like covers albums. Not everybody does but I do. I love to see a good song taken apart and put together a different way according to an artist's particular vision. No point doing it faithfully, essentially the same. If that's what you want then leave it alone. You're not showing sufficient respect to something you apparently love.
I also like Cat Power. Not everyone does but I do. She's a contrarian who walks her own road and I general like people like that. She's done some quite remarkable albums and is generally worth listening to.
She's just put out a new covers album. She has form in this respect having done so from time to time throughout her career nd always made a good job of it. Dismantling, then reassembling songs that you know and songs that you don't and casting them again in a new light with such skill that you may well prefer her take to the original one, or go back to what came before if you're unaware of te song concerned.
This latest is a slightly mixed bag, which if often the case for these kinds of reccords, but for the most part I highly approve. I didn't know about half of these songs here. that doesn't matter. I really didn't take to only two of them. The opener Frank Ocean's Bad Religion, which I didn't care for to such a degree that I almost stopped listening and The Pogues' Pair of Brown Eyes which I didn't see the point of. That one's Shane's.
Elsewhere the record gets a clean bill of health from me and there are plenty of gems scattered across it. Songs that I know and songs that I don't. Unhate a cover cleverly of her own Hate is an early highlight. Elsehwe there are great takes on Dead Man's Bones Pa Pa Power, Iggy Pop's Endless Sea, and Jackson Browne's These Days and more.
And then to the one that took my own breath away, her version of The Replacements Here Comes a Regular. This may be just a personal take as the original is one of my own favourite songs of all. But listening through to it the first time round stopped me in my tracks. She truly does it proud and gave it an eerie and slightly frightening quality all of her own.
In general she does herself proud here and shows herself, once again a true master of this particular art. It's only mid January but I find it hard to imagine a better record of its type coming along this year.