Every week, a different FADER editor compiles a playlist to highlight a new release and give you a guide to that artist’s web of influences and peers. These Staff Selects live in our Spotify app, alongside GEN Fs from our archives and playlists for each issue. This week, it’s Amber Bravo on the highs of feeling low with Cat Power.
I was about eighteen when I first heard and then fell in love with Cat Power, which means that, give or take a few years, Chan Marshall’s voice has been in my head and heart for half my life. For me, this music came to me at a time when I was probably at my most impressionable and in many ways most melancholy. I rarely get starry-eyed meeting musicians, maybe because I meet a lot of them pretty regularly, but I got to spend some time with Marshall this past spring when I was working on a story about Philippe Zdar, who at the time was mixing her new album Sun. The first day I met up with Zdar we talked for three hours in his studio, and I admitted to him how I’ve loved Marshall since I first heard Dear Sir and that I was nervous and excited to meet her. He told me that meeting Adam “MCA” Yauch was a bit like that for him, and that’d he’d waited a couple days of working together on Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 (which he’d also mixed), before he told Yauch that when he was younger he wanted to be MCA. I imagine he is very happy and grateful that he did. Maybe I had that story in the back of my mind when I met Marshall in Paris. At one point in the evening, I sat on her lap in the back of Zdar’s car. We were listening to Talking Book driving around Paris at night. I imagined telling my 18-year-old self that someday, you are gonna drive around in a Volkswagen in Paris, listening to “Big Brother” sitting on Cat Power’s lap. I would’ve fainted. We went to have one more drink, and I think, in a moment of losing my professional cool, I confessed to her how much her music has meant to me, and even if it is a little embarrassing, I don’t regret it for a second. Here are some of my dearest memories of one of my very favorite sad voices, mixed with some of the voices that’ve been formative to her. It’s an ode to the joy you can feel in getting low.
Staff Selects: The Highs of Getting Low with Cat Power