There’s few things I love more than social pundits (cough) pretending to know why someone likes a particular artist, and with that in mind, take a gander at Jessica Hopper’s thoughts regarding Chan Marshall of Cat Power.
If I had to spend years on the road sweating under hot stage lights and weight of expectation while being given the panting fuck-eye by a thousand people a night I’d be on the bottle, too.
To those of you who’ve been buying Cat Power records and attending Chan’s gigs for years, congratulations. You apparently weren’t into the music, you were giving the artist “the panting fuck-eye.”
Paradoxically, Ms. Hopper wonders why allegedly
loony idiosyncratic female artists aren’t indulged to the degree of their male peers (“Why can’t we hold Chan Marshall to the same standard as David Berman?”).
An excellent question, and one that stands in stark contrast to presuming Chan’s fans are giving her “the panting fuck-eye.” Perhaps the motivations of female artists are held to some weird conjecture, while the rockers-with-cockers are left to make whatever sort of creative u-turns they wish. Their records might be poorly received (for instance, I don’t believe the talented Mr. Berman is met with universal acclaim), but rarely in the context of how they compare to other male archetypes.
Chan’s most recent album, ‘The Greatest’, is described by Hopper as “her worst album…it’s the type of album that female singers (see Joni, Ricki Lee, Linda Ronstadt) make to signal that they are going out to pasture with dignity– you leave contemporary pop genre; you go see Nelson Riddle, you do standards.”
I think it is safe to assume that Teenie Hodges has waited a very long time to be compared to Nelson Riddle.