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Dear Sir

Cat Power Audio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 38.67
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Product Details


1. 3 Times
2. Rockets
3. Itchyhead
4. Yesterday Is Here
5. The Sleepwalker
6. Mr. Gallo
7. No Matter
8. Headlights
9. Bonus Track

Product Description

Product Description

Rock group's 1995 debut album features Chan Marshall joined by Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) on drums & Tim Foljahn on guitar; includes a version of Tom Waits' "Yesterday Is Here" (Previously deleted: 11/1/05. Original release date: 10/29/99)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Should appeal to non-Cat Power fans Nov. 25 2000
By tony
Format:Audio CD
When I first heard Cat Power, it was her song "Rockets" (although I didn't know it at the time). Immediately turned on to the sound, I started to listen to anything I could by her, but they were all songs from her various other albums. I didn't really like what I heard - her other songs still have her haunting vocals but with a finger-picking style guitar in a more "folky" vain. Eventually, I was able to hear the songs on "Dear Sir" and it was exactly what I was attracted to in the first place. The music has more sparse, heavier distorted guitar work, slightly reminscent of early Sonic Youth. The resulting music is like hearing a ghost wail over the grindings of machinery.
If you've heard of Cat Power vicariously from interviews of other artists or other plugs in print, I highly recommend this album to be your first excursion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars untitled review Dec 3 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
let's not talk about cat power breaking new ground here; this is a reissue. although it was not exactly 'groundbreaking' (ugh) when it came out, who cares? it's great! sincere, slightly off-kilter, beautifully dissonant... buy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars where do the the rockets find planets? Nov. 23 1999
Format:Audio CD
Spare and scratchy, this album is rougher and less even than the later efforts of Miss Marshall. Absolutely amazing is "Rockets" -- still one of her best in it's sweetness and sing-along-ability. "Headlights" is tragic and pained, and more driving (sorry about the pun) than most Cat Power songs. This is a wonderful rainy day album probably better suited to people who are already fans of her music, but absolutely necessary in a CP fan's library. Also: she's backed by Tim Foljahn and Steve Shelley, who add a whole different set of sonic youth-ey influences.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars only if you're in the mood... Nov. 30 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Cat Power are basically a one-trick pony, and if you've gone so far as to get to this page, you know what I'm talking about. The minimalist/somber approach can provide for a good listen when you're in the mood, but it's not a place you'd like to be for long, or very often for that matter. No new ground is broken on this new album. In fact, any one song by Cat Power is representative of the entire catalog. I can only hope that the "band" will try to break ground in their live shows, which are fast becoming a pathetic joke: No conviction whatsoever, feigned boredom, and false starts to songs while Chan Marshall acts like a five year-old, pouting, complaining, and making a complete clown out of herself, while she practically begs the audience to feel as sorry for her as she does for herself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should appeal to non-Cat Power fans Nov. 25 2000
By tony - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
When I first heard Cat Power, it was her song "Rockets" (although I didn't know it at the time). Immediately turned on to the sound, I started to listen to anything I could by her, but they were all songs from her various other albums. I didn't really like what I heard - her other songs still have her haunting vocals but with a finger-picking style guitar in a more "folky" vain. Eventually, I was able to hear the songs on "Dear Sir" and it was exactly what I was attracted to in the first place. The music has more sparse, heavier distorted guitar work, slightly reminscent of early Sonic Youth. The resulting music is like hearing a ghost wail over the grindings of machinery.
If you've heard of Cat Power vicariously from interviews of other artists or other plugs in print, I highly recommend this album to be your first excursion.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angry, alienated, sad, infuriating Oct. 11 2009
By E. L. Green - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The guy who whines, "one wailing dirge after another" has a point. I earlier had a review here (now withdrawn) that basically made that same point and slagged the album as juvenilia. After all, even Chan Marshall herself has slagged the album, saying "I didn't know what I was doing."

So why, then, does this album keep getting played over and over and over again in my music collection? Clearly something is happening here that draws me to the album despite all that. Is it the production values? No, while the album sounds surprisingly good considering that most of the songs were done in one take during the course of a single day, there's nothing special there, it's straight indie rock minimalist production circa early 90's. Is it Chan's voice? She alternates between singing and wailing at the top of her lungs here in a way that she never lets herself do today, which is quite compelling on some of the songs, and admittedly she's a good singer even then at the beginning of her career. Still, there are plenty of albums by great singers that I listen to once, say eh, and never listen to again. So is it something about the melody, about the accompaniment? I sit down and play a few of the songs on my guitar. Three or four chords go around in a circle. Nothing special there, indeed might even consider it boring or even droning. Steve Shelley's drums thumping along ominously and Chan and Tim Folijahn's guitars circling warily like uneasy companions add something beyond my straight guitar rendition, but the plain fact is that these songs have primitive stripped down musical phrasing and Steve and Tim's contributions, while adding to the sound, do not make it anything other than what it is -- simple three or four chord progressions going in a circle. So what about the lyrics? The lyrics sites on the Internet are useless -- the people who transcribed those lyrics must be deaf, what I hear listening via studio-grade headphones is sometimes drastically different -- but I transcribe lyrics via my own equipment, and they're almost anti-songs, mysterious and fragmentary. Then I put it all together, playing my guitar and singing the lyrics into my microphone using Chan's phrasings... WHOA. Suddenly we are on an emotional journey. Some of the songs are angry and violent, some have a wistful longing, some are just plain sad, but the majority of the songs have an impact far more than you'd expect looking at any piece of the song by itself.

In short, this is an album that is better than the sum of its parts. The parts themselves may be primitive as reflects Chan's skills at the time, but her musical intuition was present and accounted for and made a surprisingly compelling album. And despite Steve and Tim's contributions, it *is* Chan's albums. I've heard her demo of "Headlights", made with her Atlanta friends long before Chan roped in Steve and Tim to back her (and yes, by now it should be clear that Chan roped them in and not the other way around, you don't last 15 years in the music business unless you have that kind of cunning). It's the same song. Different backing, but the same song.

Some of my favorites: "Rockets" is wistful and innocent. "Itchyhead" is angry and violent. Chan's covers of Tom Waits's "Yesterday is Here" and This Kind of Punishment's "The Sleepwalker" are unrecognizable... Chan took their songs and deconstructed them in a way similar to what she did later for the Covers Record. I've heard the originals, and Chan uses fragments of their lyrics or sometimes entire lines but rearranges them entirely and adds her own emphasis to put the meaning she desires into it, a process which worked especially well for "The Sleepwalker", a song of alienation, loneliness, yearning, and betrayal that might be about a daughter yearning for time with her father and searching for salvation that is nowhere to be found. Chan turned Chris Matthews's original somewhat pedestrian breakup song into something far more than was ever intended. "Great Expectations" is a mysterious song of alienation and loneliness that is almost satirical in its lament of "great expectations", clearly the narrator has no such expectations. "Headlights"... what a sad and terrifying song that is, a song about death from the point of view of the corpse and what it might feel like to be lamented at a funeral then buried. Steven King would be proud.

So... is this album going to be everybody's cup of tea? Well, no. It's definitely *not* a cheerful listen. Mysterious, angry, alienated, sad, and sometimes infuriating, with only the wistfulness of "Rockets" adding any glimpse of daylight to the proceedings. Yet despite all that it is a surprisingly compelling album. And if you feel no closer to understanding why than when you started reading this review, join the club. I've taken these songs apart and put them back together, and these songs simply should not work as well as they do. Yet they work -- which is as baffling as this album itself often is.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat Power at her best Jan. 2 2008
By Michael A. Albert - Published on Amazon.com
Format:LP Record|Verified Purchase
Minimal, gorgeous songcraft and the sexiest voice in rock is what made Cat Power great in the first place, not all the polish and rehab that went into "The Greatest." Not to take away from that album, it is fantastic in different ways, but my teenage sister, who is not so much into the dissonant indie rock *yet* is really into Ms. Marshall's back catalog since I bought her "The Greatest" a year ago. Perhaps this record is too grating for ears that can't stand a challenge, but if you like Cat Power you have to give this one a try, at least download it illegally. And remember kids, it always sounds better on vinyl!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eh c'mon you negative music critic wannabe's! Cat Power rocks this album Aug. 26 2007
By Kelly Howle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm gonna go off the same facets that previous reviewers, "Jeditor" and "A Music Fan" have already said. This may not be Cat Power's most interesting, ground breaking, or ingenious piece of work, but it is still highly entertaining and enjoyable. Whiny or wailing? No way. I can hear some of the Sonic Youth undertones in it but certainly not a post punk album. (Want good post punk? Check out Fugazi). The musical style is quite a bit, agreed, but there's no way anyone can mistake Chan Marshall's delicious voice. Her voice is supreme on this album and I can jam to her voice at any time of day. I don't need a "mood" to listen to this album (but maybe I'm always moody?) whereas some of her newest stuff, I really have to be somewhere... like ready to just chill. This album a one trick pony? No. Way.

I got into Cat Power after her "You Are Free" album was released, and it was Moon Pix that I first heard, specifically the track 'American Flag' which prompted me to get her album and listen to the whole thing. I now have all the CDs after that, and am just now getting into her older stuff. When first listening to the new experimental stuff, and rather "groundbreaking" material, like "The Greatest", it's hard to imagine that she got her roots in anything but that. If you're used to her newest stuff, yeah, the old stuff is going to sound rather simplistic and basic. But sometimes that's not so bad.

Released first in 1995, her debut album may not have been ground shattering on any level of music genres, but it is still a force to be reckoned with. The new stuff really focuses on Chan's voice and not so much musically, though on many tracks throughout the 2000's material, you'll find pockets of just explosive instrumental pieces. It seems that Moon Pix and before, the music is more present along with her voice. You really notice it. Honestly, I think her early albums (Dear Sir-Myra Lee-What Would The Community Think-Moon Pix) are the best because while you can't deny the power and amazing talent of Chan's voice, the musical/instrumental pieces really only enhance her voice more so.

I guess I'm slightly inclined to harder music and I think the songs from the "Covers" album are rather stagnant, and it took me a long time to get into. So I think the harder clips from Dear Sir, with some loud guitar riffs from Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar and awesome drums from Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth. If you're used to her more softer tones and voice focused music, then yeah, this might be a bit too much for you. Who knows. I can't say this CD will please everyone but has a single record ever done that at any time in history. Nah.

Being Chan Marshall, and knowing her eclectic taste in music and style, it's no surprise the way she's moved about from 1994 to 2006. Some would say she's matured by going to the more softer stuff (critics tend to call it that. I think that's B.S.) but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if she went off the wall and infused some kind of reggae with folk music. That's Cat Power and I can only hope that "Dear Sir" gets listened to enough for people to see where she's been and where she's going.

And actually, I was thinking, her older stuff might be easier for new fans to get into. Her new stuff is hard to listen to if you don't know what to expect. It took me a long time to get into when I first started. I highly recommended for fans and newbies alike. It's not to pass up.
5.0 out of 5 stars a great cat power album March 24 2013
By kenneth Hoback - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This die-hard Cat Power fan loves this album! You cannot go wrong with them, and this album has a nice mix of slower tempo and quicker tunes that are sure to stick in your head. Fast shipping and perfect quality c.d. Thanks! I highly recommend this
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