A muted version of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” views the Big Apple as a land of opportunity. Other songs lobby for racial equality (“Angelitos Negros”) and express faith in the Almighty (“Lord, Help the Poor & Needy,” Bob Dylan’s “I Believe in You”).
Any reverent fist-pumps toward heaven lose their luster when the artist misuses God’s name (“Song to Bobby”) and blames Him for her inability to settle down (a spin on Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man”). The singer wants a “reckless” companion who has “razor blades and dice in his eyes … thunder and lightning in his thighs” (“Silver Stallion”). Hell may not be the hippest place to go, but she decides to withhold judgment until she takes a look around (Joni Mitchell’s “Blue”). That song also mentions “Acid, booze and a–/Needles, guns and grass.” Profanities pop up here and there. The worst is an f-word on “I Feel,” which imagines committing homicide and road-tripping to Texas for illegal drugs. A woman floats the idea of roaming the streets in the buff (“Naked If I Want To”).
Cat Power is the stage name of Chan Marshall. Her smoky, stripped-down rock style conveys the bluesy sadness of an artist rescued from the brink and trying to reorient herself. Even if she manages to stay clean, some of these lyrics don’t. Unplug the Jukebox.
Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.