At first, the greatest song on Cat Power’s greatest album (from the standpoint of someone who respects her more than loves her) starts off kinda slowly, with squealing synths over a John Cale piano while Chan Marshall gives encouragement to what she’s probably always imagined as her fan base: a weary kid alone in her room.
Never give away, never give away your body
Never, never give away your friends
Ever, never give away what you always wanted
Never, never ever give in
It’s instantly compelling, the way the best trance-rock often is, but when she stops the song, and the rest of her band joins in shouting “You want to live!” it begins to go to a whole new place and you suddenly recognize the chord changes, melody and attitude for what it is: an update/answer/homage to David Bowie’s “Heroes.”
So when Iggy Freaking Pop shows up just moments later, they make that explicit by singing in imperfect harmony:
It’s up to you to be a superhero
It’s up to you to be like nobody
For an artist who made her bones by coming across like she would fade away if you looked at her cross-eyed, going toe-to-toe with Iggy Pop on a remake of “Heroes” is so audacious and self-assured, it pretty much made me wonder if I’d been wrong about her all these years. Probably.
Video for “Nothin’ But Time”