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Cat Power: The 'Dark End' Of Depressive Soul

Over the course of the '00s, Cat Power (a.k.a. singer Chan Marshall) has charted a course from depressive alt-folk singer-songwriter to depressive soul interpreter. It's been a surprisingly easy fit: Marshall has issued several amazing covers discs, culminating in 2008's odd, remarkable Jukebox.

Dark End of the Street is an all-covers, vinyl- and digital-only EP composed of Jukebox leftovers. Its title track reworks the 1967 Muscle Shoals hit first made famous by Southern soul singer James Carr and ably re-interpreted by everyone from Linda Ronstadt to Afghan Whigs.

A dark tale of cheating lovers that's a chronicle of trouble foretold ("They're gonna find us someday"), it's a hard song to mess up. The best versions of this track have an air of enervated misery which Marshall, the human embodiment of enervated misery, nails completely. Slowed to a crawl, heavy on reverb and regret, her rendition is quavery and grim — a logier version than its creators must have intended, but somehow just right.

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Allison L. Stewart
Allison Stewart is a writer living in New York. It's entirely possible to see her work in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, No Depression, Rolling Stone or any number of other places. Or to miss it entirely, which is just as likely.