Daily Download: "The Greatest," Cat Power

Published January 24, 2006 8:01AM (EST)

It's been clear for years now that Chan Marshall's voice is one of the great glories of our time, and that she's not just another indie mopester (although she certainly has been that as well) but also a brilliant and masterly singer. But for all that mastery, and even on an album as purely carried by the vocals as her "Covers Record," there was something retiring about the way she used her voice, like it was a secret for her alone, as carefully hidden as her perpetually hair-obscured face. On her extraordinary new album, "The Greatest" -- released today and recorded in Memphis with a music geek's wet dream of a band (including two of the Hodges brothers who backed up Al Green on his greatest records) -- all pretense of shyness is gone and Marshall steps gamely into the spotlight, hair swept aside at last. This is not necessarily to say that this is Cat Power's best yet (I personally prefer it to "You Are Free" but not to "Moonpix"), but it's certainly her most accessible, and doesn't lose any of what makes her great. It's going to be huge, and you'd do well to buy a copy.

-- T.B.

By Salon Staff

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