Sun

Album Review of Sun by Cat Power.

Sun

Cat Power

Sun by Cat Power

Release Date: Sep 4, 2012
Record label: Matador
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Sadcore

78 Music Critic Score
How the Music Critic Score works

Buy Sun from Amazon

Sun - Very Good, Based on 25 Critics

Rolling Stone - 100
Based on rating 5/5
100

"Real life is ordinary," Chan Marshall sings halfway through her ninth album – and she makes it sound like hard-won wisdom, because you can hear in Marshall's voice how fiercely she had to fight just to make it to real life. Marshall produced Sun herself, in the wake of what seems like one brutal breakup. She doesn't try to repeat the retro Memphis R&B of her 2006 indie hit The Greatest, or the late-night spider-guitar shambles of her classic 1990s albums.

Full Review >>

Drowned In Sound - 90
Based on rating 9/10
90

Context, sometimes, is everything. Knowing that Chan Marshall finished recording Sun as her relationship with Giovanni Ribisi reached a tortured end will inevitably colour the way that some folk hear and interpret this album. Some of the first words that you hear (on ‘Cherokee’) cut painfully through the anticipation: “I never knew love like this / wind, moon, the earth and sky / I never knew pain like this… I never knew pain, I never knew shame and now I know why.” Marshall’s words are double-weighted with emotion but ‘Cherokee’ manages, somehow, to be uplifting; through all the drama comes a sense of resolution and stability.

Full Review >>

Entertainment Weekly - 86
Based on rating A-
86

There’s something about about Chan Marshall that makes people want to save her. Maybe it’s the cracked beauty and vulnerability in her music, which she records under the name Cat Power, or the fact that so many of her songs pay tribute to Kurt Cobain, another fragile soul who once needed saving. Or maybe it’s her long history of breaking down on stage, curling up in a fetal position while members of the crowd shout, ”We love you!” and reach out to stroke her hair.

Full Review >>

Consequence of Sound - 86
Based on rating A-
86

As George Harrison might have said, it?s been a long, cold, lonely winter for Cat Power?s Chan Marshall. The tumultuous musician has dealt with more than her fair share bad press, bad habits, and bad relationships over the past decade. But when she sings, ?here comes the sun,? on the title track of her ninth album, Marshall emerges from a long hibernation, casting off the unadulterated guitar parts of her earlier catalogue for a rejuvenating new sound.

Full Review >>

Filter - 86
Based on rating 86%%
86

The eight-minute epic “Nothing But Time” features a vocal cameo by Iggy Pop that is assured, but by the end of the song, most of its initial energy and inertia are sapped. On the other hand, “Silent Machine” recalls solid mid ’70s rock and “Manhattan” is a luminous paean to a wanderer’s life. The album reaches its terminus with “Peace and Love,” a revelatory and unrefined rock anthem injected with a clear-cut slogan: “Peace and love is a famous generation / I’m a lover, but I’m in it to win.” Consider Sun the start of Cat Power’s new musical life.

Full Review >>

Prefix Magazine - 85
Based on rating 8.5/10
85

Chan Marshall’s last album of original material opened with the line “Once I wanted to be the greatest,” which tells you most everything you need to know not just about The Greatest, but the tenor of Marshall’s songwriting. Wistful, reflective, looking to the past for answers—right down to the legendary Stax studio musicians in her backing band. There’s history in every breath, every action imbued with remembering.

Full Review >>

American Songwriter - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

A name once synonymous with sad, slow-moving indie folk performed with an almost claustrophobic insularity, Cat Power underwent a kind of artistic rebirth with 2006’s The Greatest. Brassy and bright, the album found singer-songwriter Chan Marshall embracing the classic sounds of Stax soul, and a more confident and extroverted approach on the whole, if not necessarily an entirely sunnier disposition. Its proper follow-up (not counting a pair of covers collections), titled Sun, is yet another reinvention for the Georgia native, bearing Marshall’s softly familiar delivery backed by a more upbeat, rollicking sensibility with aesthetic surprises aplenty.

Full Review >>

Paste Magazine - 80
Based on rating 8.0/10
80

Chan Marshall/Cat Power has spent the last few years tentatively courting the mainstream, traveling to Memphis for her most accessible album (2006’s The Greatest) and following it up with a tepid LP and EP of covers so dispirited and obligatory that they made Corinne Bailey Rae sound like a riot grrrl. So what do you do when your honest attempts to find a larger audience prove commercially and creatively fruitless? How you keep going forward when you have so little to show for past efforts? If you’re Marshall, you dig in. You retrench yourself in your eccentricities and make a record that is both deeply weird and immensely engaging, that walks the impossibly fine line between hippie-dippie nonsense and poignant pop profundity.

Full Review >>

NOW Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

CAT POWER plays Kool Haus on October 20. See listing. Rating: NNNN A six-year hiatus from releasing original music and a battle with alcoholism have hardly spelled the end for Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power. Instead, her ninth album finds her somewhat reinvented, in possession of a newly positive outlook and playful with the more electronic elements of music that have become so prevalent in her absence.

Full Review >>

Slant Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4.0/5
80

With Sun, her ninth album as Cat Power, soulful indie songstress Chan Marshall has produced what is perhaps her most undaunted and thoroughly impassioned album in roughly a decade. It’s no surprise that it almost didn’t see the light of day, as Marshall has gone through several life-altering events since the release of her last album, 2006’s The Greatest, including illness, financial instability, and a much-publicized, hot-cold relationship with actor Giovanni Ribisi. However, instead of debilitating Marshall, these developments serve as consistent fuel for Sun‘s resonant, emotional fire, adding up to a collection of songs that represent a dynamic snapshot of the singer-songwriter in steady command of her craft while still occasionally giving way to passages of thin-skinned, deeply revealing storytelling.

Full Review >>

The Observer (UK) - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

An unusual blend of anticipation and anxiety precedes any new Cat Power album or performance. Fragility and self-laceration have informed her most powerful music (and agonising gigs), but it will be a relief to most that Sun glows with hard-won contentment. Musically it's closer to the bluesy alt-rock of 2003's You Are Free than the Memphis grooves of 2006's The Greatest, but aided by woozy, expansive production many of these songs shimmer with warmth and light.

Full Review >>

The Observer (UK) - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

An unusual blend of anticipation and anxiety precedes any new Cat Power album or performance. Fragility and self-laceration have informed her most powerful music (and agonising gigs), but it will be a relief to most that Sun glows with hard-won contentment. Musically it's closer to the bluesy alt-rock of 2003's You Are Free than the Memphis grooves of 2006's The Greatest, but aided by woozy, expansive production many of these songs shimmer with warmth and light.

Full Review >>

AllMusic - 80
Based on rating 8/10
80

Six years between albums would be a lifetime for many artists, but Cat Power's Chan Marshall managed to pack a couple of lifetimes' worth of experiences between The Greatest and Sun. A happy relationship, health issues and writer's block were among the many things that kept her away from music during that time, and with a life that full, it's no wonder that this album, Marshall's seventh set of original songs, is so different than the one that came before it. Instead of working with veteran musicians, she wrote, recorded, and produced Sun on her own, added electronic instruments to her repertoire, and enlisted Cassius' Philippe Zdar to help with the mixing duties (which he did with a minimum of interference).

Full Review >>

The Guardian - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Though the word Sun seems to point backward, to the southern soul/blues of Cat Power's last studio album, The Greatest, it has nothing to do with Sun Studios. Rather, the name comes from the album's second track, an electronic swoon that acts as a mission statement: "Here is the day/ We are free, you and me, and we can finally run." In the six years since The Greatest, Power has faced bankruptcy and the end of a relationship, but she's lived to fight another day, and this album is what she terms a "rebirth". It is assuredly that.

Full Review >>

Sputnikmusic - 80
Based on rating 4.0/5
80

Review Summary: Chan Marshall finds her way back from the ledge.One listen to Sun and you’d never know that here is an album that almost didn’t get made. “Bitchin’, complainin,’ when some people who ain’t got *** to eat / bitchin,’ moanin,’ so many people you know they got,” goes the lead-in to the chorus on first single “Ruin,” and that, of course, sounds just like Chan Marshall, but certainly not in this context. The sound is lush, a Glass-ian keyboard motif circling up around that ricocheting guitar line and a propulsive funk rhythm suitable to get lost in.

Full Review >>

Pitchfork - 79
Based on rating 7.9/10
79

Seventeen years after Chan Marshall's debut as Cat Power and six years after her most recent album of original material, comes Sun, her ninth album. But let's drop the math right there. Because Sun is a record with its own peculiar temporal logic, one that's circular rather than linear. Take that picture on the cover, for example.

Full Review >>

Beats Per Minute (formerly One Thirty BPM) - 73
Based on rating 73%%
73

Cat PowerSun[Matador; 2012]By Joshua Pickard; October 10, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetI’ve never been one to complain when an artist feels the need to shake out the cobwebs, but Chan Marshall doesn't seem to realize that the credibility an artist engenders from their fanbase can be withdrawn at a moment's notice. (It’s been how many years since she released The Greatest) In the interim between The Greatest and her newest record, the better-than-it-has-any-right-to-be Sun, she released Jukebox, a half-baked (to varying degrees) covers album that did nothing more than make her fans turn to her older albums for their Cat Power fix. It was interesting to hear her versions of those songs but going six years between official studio albums and only releasing a forgettable set of covers--excluding the lone original track “Song to Bobby”--seems a bit counterproductive.

Full Review >>

No Ripcord - 70
Based on rating 7/10
70

The idea of a “comeback” has always made me a little uneasy. When this label gets slapped onto an album, probably by some uncreative press release, it’s usually ill-fitting and based solely on the quantity of years since a previous release. So with Chan Marshall releasing her ninth studio album, Sun (the first since 2006’s The Greatest to be composed entirely of original material), I’m still wary about labeling this as her comeback.

Full Review >>

New Musical Express (NME) - 70
Based on rating 3.5/5
70

To say that Cat Power’s ninth album gets off to a bleak start would be a little bit of an exaggeration. Sure, when alt-folk firebrand Chan Marshall utters “I never knew pain like this/When everything dies” over the snowballing trip-folk of ‘Cherokee’ like Beth Orton double-dropping capsules of St John’s Wort, it’s not the most heart-lifting of sentiments. But among the shuffling breakbeats, the afterglow of a love she puts on a par with “the wind, the moon, the earth, the sky” burns bright.

Full Review >>

PopMatters - 60
Based on rating 6/10
60

Chan Marshall career to this point has been built equally on the power of her music and the allure of her mythology. She is the unpredictable performer, the woman with the saddest of the sad songs, the one that will turn her back on the audience or storm out of a show. She’s also the woman who, on record, sounds hurt without being beaten, broken without losing strength.

Full Review >>

Tiny Mix Tapes - 30
Based on rating 1.5/5
30

01. The quintessential Sun moment of “Cherokee” comes at 3:05, when, as we move into the second chorus, we hear a hawk sampled. It’s not that Chan Marshall’s Cat Power project has hitherto been defined by its subtlety; in fact, it’s her uncomfortable transparency that has most moved me up until now. It has been the way that she has both shamelessly integrated her sources into her own music and shamelessly integrated her personality into her “covers” that has most convinced me of her candor and, frankly, greatness as a songwriter and storyteller.

Full Review >>

Exclaim
Their review was positive

It took six years for Cat Power's Sun to rise and the wait was worth it. It's gloriously fractured, just like singer/songwriter Chan Marshall, with one foot far back in her performance-art-meets-Southern-soul past and another firmly planted in a future of electro-dance, digital experimentation. Sun is a sampling of sounds previously only found on the mixtape in Marshall's mind and it must be freeing, if frightening, to release it into the world.

Full Review >>

DIY Magazine
Their review was positive

It seems there’s always a back-story with Chan Marshall. ‘Sun’ is three years in the making yet was finished only when she split with long-time boyfriend Giovanni Ribisi, cut off her hair and got on a plane to France.In the six years since ‘The Greatest’, Cat Power has also faced bankruptcy and these tribulations loom over the record – yet it’s also defiantly hopeful. Indeed she’s called this album a ‘rebirth’.

Full Review >>

BBC Music
Their review was positive

A brave and adventurous change in direction from Chan Marshall. James Skinner 2012 “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.

Full Review >>

The Quietus
Their review was generally favourable

So here's Sun, in which an uncharacteristically swaggering Chan Marshall makes a tortured six year gestation sound effortless. If the Cat Power backstory so far has touched on some of the darker sides of human nature, on dependency, abuse and despair, Sun is the light at the end of one hell of a tunnel, a record brimming with an assurance and playfulness that, if a little dorky in places, is about as cathartic as pop gets. Without laying on the cod-psychology, Sun sounds like an LP by someone who's done her time and come out the other side laughing.

Full Review >>

'Sun'

is available now