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Sun is the new studio album from Cat Power. Six years after her last album of original material [The Greatest, 2006], Chan Marshall has moved on from her collaborative forays into Memphis soul and Delta blues. She wrote, played, recorded and produced the entirety of Sun by herself, a statement of complete control that is echoed in the songsâ€™ themes.
Marshall calls Sun â€œa rebirth,â€ which is exactly what this confident, ambitious, charismatic record feels like. â€œMoon Pix  was about extreme isolation and survival in the crazy struggle,â€ she says. "Sun is don't look back, pick up, and go confidently into your own future, to personal power and fulfilment."
The music on Sun employs a sweeping stylistic palette: Thereâ€™s the classic Cat Power haunting guitar and provocative vocal hook in â€˜Cherokeeâ€™ (â€œmarry me to the skyâ€¦ bury me upside downâ€); the irresistible Latin-sounding nine-piano loop of â€˜Ruinâ€™; upbeat, almost dancey electronic anthems like â€˜Real Lifeâ€™ and â€˜3,6,9â€™; and the stirring, 8-minute epic â€˜Nothin But Time,â€™ featuring a vocal cameo by Iggy Pop. The swagger of â€˜Silent Machineâ€™ brings to mind mid-70s Jagger, contrasted with the unusual, sparse production of â€˜Always On My Ownâ€™. The narrative arc of the record is deeply optimistic; the music is defiantly modern and global.
Though devoid of grave bedroom confessionals, Sun is possibly Cat Powerâ€™s most personal album to date. For all its layered expansiveness, it is as handcrafted as her debut, and never has a Cat Power album so paralleled her personality and state of mind â€“ channelling her humour, anger, deep empathy, musical inspirations, technical skill, and spiritual inquiry into an album thatâ€™s both surprising and comforting.
Those versed in the Cat Power discography will detect elements of 2003's landmark album You Are Free, which experimented with vocal forms and beats borrowed from urban music, and the spellbinding authority of songs like â€˜American Flagâ€™. Sonically, however, with credit to mixer Philippe Zdar (Phoenix, Chromeo, Beastie Boys), Sun is incredibly fresh, reflecting its forward-looking mindset.
Sun was recorded over the past three years in Malibu (in a studio she built herself), Silver Lake (in the Dust Brothersâ€™ studio The Boat), Miami (South Beach Studios), and Paris (Motorbass), where she mixed with Zdar in Spring 2012.
5. Always On My Own
6. Real Life
7. Human Being
9. Silent Machine
10. Nothin But Time
11. Peace And love