Song to Bobby

I love how Cat Power reinvented – or rediscovered – the covers album in the mid-2000’s. This is the thing that everybody does now, like a musical version of the trend for vintage fashion. But it seemed very subversive and anti-pop in 2006~2008 era, just as it had when Bowie, Nilsson and Ferry shook the songwriter-as-demigod cult in the early 1970’s. Doing covers is really all about imprinting other people’s material with your own persona. Having said all that, the song that’s making me wax poetic is actually an original composition by Chan Marshall herself, eased in among classics by Dylan and Holiday. What’s great is how well it eases in. It’s the right intimate mood, the right contemplative thoughts. Who is Bobby, in this context, I wonder. Is it Bobby D himself? Or just some vague Bobby who serves as a songwriter’s casual muse? There’s no right answer, of course, but it’s nice to ask the question. Jukebox, in short, is the kind of record that makes one muse about muses.

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