Sunday, August 30, 2009

Elizabeth Goodman

"Chan Marshall does not want you to read this book." When a book starts off like that, you have to force yourself to push forward to find out what could be so bad that a person is against you reading their story. Who is Cat Power? or Chan Marshall? This is one of those books that you want to put down many times, but are afraid you may miss out on some important message and are reluctant to abandon.

Having seen Cat Power in concert a few times, I felt compelled to getting to know her beyond the music. She has been a controversial character from the get go, whether it be her stage presence or addictions, she is dramatic in every sense of the word. After reading this book, I am still not sure it matters where she came from, because I do not have any idea where she is going. Besides indie music lovers, no one I know even knows or cares about her. It is sad to say, but I do not think she will ever become the star she has the potential to be. Her cult like following is all she really has going for her.

I just recently saw her open for The Pretenders and there were probably a dozen people in the audience who knew of her and cared that she was on stage. She really has a powerful voice, a great band behind her and a spooky stage presence that makes her worth seeing as an opener or main act. This book takes you behind the scenes and into the tormented, psychotic life of one young girl. A must read for music fans alike.

Goodman, the editor-at-large at Blender, interviews her family and friends such as Thurston Moore, Nick Cave, Dave Grohl, Jack White, Bill Callahan, Vincent Gallo, Karl Lagerfeld and Wong Kar-Wai, trying to paint the real Chan Marshall. Although, this is not an ordinary biography,Goodman really tries her hardest lure you in to the private life of an indie singer. The New York Times, Alan Light said it best:
It is very much to Goodman's credit that Cat Power: A Good Woman sustains interest, especially since Marshall refused to participate. Goodman thoroughly explores the central drama of Marshall's life: the "career-long argument Chan has with herself…about whether or not she wants to be up there singing in the first place"…Goodman makes a decent case—to this skeptical reader, anyway—for Cat Power's musical significance.
Lyrics to "Good Woman", which appears on the album You Are Free:
I want to be a good woman
And I want, for you to be a good man.
This is why I will be leaving
And this is why, I can’t see you no more.
I will miss your heart so tender
And I will love
This love forever

I don’t want be a bad woman
And I can’t stand to see you be a bad man
I will miss your heart so tender
And I will love
This love forever
And this is why I am leaving
And this is why I can’t see you no more
This is why I am lying when I say
That I don’t love you no more

Cause I want to be a good woman
And I want for you to be a good man