Latin piano, upbeat pop and ambitious lyrics might not be something you’d expect from Cat Power. Instead, we’d expect the slow-tempoed, bluesy tunes songwriter Chan Marshall wrote to make LA Weekly deem her “the Queen of Sadcore.”
(Side note: If you Google “Cat Power Queen of …” you’ll get “queen of modern blues,” “queen of covers,” “queen of reinvention,” “queen of indie rock.” She’s the queen of everything.)
But Cat Power’s new tune, “Ruin,” is not a depressing song, following the likes of “Lived in Bars” from The Greatest or “Names” from You are Free. Although “Ruin” is off her upcoming Sun, an album written in the midst of her breakup with actor Giovanni Ribisi (who eloped with model Agyness Deyn last week), the song doesn’t seem too heavy. The lyrics describe traveling the world – “Mozambique, Istanbul, or Rome, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Taiwan, Great Britain, Belfast, to the desert, Spain, some little bitty island in the middle of the Pacific.”
“I cut my hair off three days (after the breakup), got on a plane to France and finished the shit,” Marshall told The Stool Pigeon. “It’s all good, you know. I love the person very much. I actually love this record very much, too. I’m very proud of it.”
Don’t worry. “Ruin” isn’t too out of Cat Power’s element. Still expect smoky doubled up vocals and a sassy melody.
The melody is quite intelligent, actually. It takes twists and turns within the minor scale. During the chorus – which contains the only negative words of the song – she writes an uplifting major third for “sittin’ on a ruin.” It’s a refreshing point in the track.
Listen to “Ruin” below. Sun is out Sept. 4 on Matador.