Cat Power has had a relatively up and down decade. The two covers albums that she released were incredibly hit and miss, but the original material on 2003's You Are Free and 2006's The Greatest showed why Miss Chan Marshall is one of the best female singer-songwriters of her generation. Hell, why bother pigeonholing her like that? One of the best singer-songwriters of her generation. Over the course of her 15 year career she has had fewer highs than You Are Free's track "Good Woman."(More talk plus music after the jump!)
The greatest appeal of "Good Woman" is its simplicity. Even though a children's chorus pops up in the middle, the core of the song is a distorted and twangy electric guitar, fiddle, and Miss Marshall's haunting voice. I don't like to say things are heartbreaking, but this song is a heartbreaking song about heartache. Marshall's songs tend to have two feelings running through them: strength (Is that a feeling? I'm not sure, but that's what comes across) and despondency. "Good Woman" falls very firmly in that category, but what makes it different from a song like "The Greatest" is one single fact: it is a song about a woman feeling the necessity of her man's departure, whilst also mourning his loss. Miss Marshall has never been a woman who seemed like she needed anyone, let alone a man. I mean, even her moniker calls to mind female empowerment. However here she sounds vulnerable and knows that she is in the unfortunate position of needing to be on her own, even though she doesn't want to be. It's a gorgeous ballad that shows the range of a great songwriter.