Too Young To Burn

You Are Free by Cat Power

Today I am short. By this I mean, three different people, in three different locations, looked at me today and said, "Amanda, you are so short!". At 5'2", it's hard to pretend I'm anything other than short. And yet, it still surprised me each time. I must be feeling short today, I decide.

To an extent, this is true. I've been feeling small. I have been trying to see my world in terms of my childhood. Walking home from school, I try to drudge up the old feeling of wanting to go bicycling after a long day at school. Lounging in the Bellevue Square Mall, I look up at the walkways and try to find myself still in my Halloween costume, still trick-or-treating.

Standing on the sidewalk, waiting for the bus in the windy rain, I am passively listening to You Are Free like I have been intermittently the last two weeks, reflecting on why I'm so small. Somewhere I am registering Chan Marshall singing on "Babydoll", "Don't you want to be free?". Yes, it's true, I do want to be free, I have just spent half of my day sitting with someone discussing the logic of my moving out. In "Fool" Marshall sings, "Wanting to live and laugh all the time/Sitting alone with your tea and your crime" and I just nod along, watching the wind churn up waves on the face of Lake Washington, spraying clear across the floating bridge.

I have, in the past, hated Cat Power. The Greatest was not really the greatest, and I never wanted to put much of an effort into what I felt was a boring artist. So randomly testing various albums off of my list, it came as a surprise how much I enjoyed You Are Free. There are many rewarding moments on the album, such as the opener "I Don't Blame You", a kind of tribute to Kurt Cobain, or the tracks "Good Woman" or "Maybe Not". Though the last few songs on the album peters out (after the downer "Names", it gets hard to listen to anything at all), overall, Marshall does a very good job with her dramatic, haunting yet beautiful compositions.

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