I skipped Moon Pix (which I now regret) and only recently bought the Covers Album -- What Would the Community Think? was almost too intense for me... it made me uneasy in a way that was more disturbing than those other singer-songwriting chanteuses, because it was so painfully agonized and naked. It seemed shockingly unbalanced -- unlike, say, Liz Phair's detached coolness -- it was like watching a person fall apart. Chan's singing at points on WWTCT? rises up forcefully and cacophonously, then breaks up and disperses like a firework -- it is a remarkable sight, but I found afterwards that my face was pulled back in a sort of cringe.
On the Covers Album, however, that impulse is turned inward. Rather than that self-destructive explosion, more often we hear an almost whispering voice that waxes to a sharp but restrained point then wanes into a soft breath. Her voice still disperses, but here it's more like seeing smoke, wisping and curling gracefully in its death throes, before it disappears.
Quiet, tender, simple, thoughtful, often intense and often playful. I adore this album, find myself moving from song to song like an infatuated teenager -- Naked If I Want To, Sweedeedee, Wild is the Wind, Paths of Victory, Salty Dog and Sea of Love.