Cat Rules, Boys Drool...

Cat_lCongrats to bluesy crooner Cat Power, who won this year’s Shortlist Music Prize. The former Liz Phair opening act, whose competition included Tom Waits and Regina Spektor, is the first woman to win the award, now in its sixth year. Judges for the accolade are called Listmakers (this year they included singer KT Tunstall, pop rockers, Panic! at the Disco, and hip-hop media personality Touré), and they give the prize each year to musical risktakers — past winners include N.E.R.D. (I miss them), Sufjan Stevens, and Damien Rice — and often honor emerging or underground artists. Fiona Apple was a contender last year for Extraordinary Machine (and though the album was no When the Pawn…, I would have given it to her for this song alone.)

Among Cat Power fans, I’m a newbie; my intro to her came in the form of the airy vocals she lent to Handsome Boy Modeling School’s ”I’ve Been Thinking." I do love her voice,and that got me thinking about other stellar artists that I may have missed along the way.

addCredit(“Cat Power: C. Taylor Crothers/FilmMagic.com”)

My favorite underground/underrated artist is Canadian trip-hopartist, Esthero, whom I discovered on Goodie Mob’s "The World I Know(Country Livin’)." Most people I talk to have never heard of her. Idefinitely see her standing up against other Shortlist nominees, thoughI think she’s more popular in her native Canada, which may count as astrike against her. Canadians always seem to get the short end of the stick. Unless you’re in a Kevin Smith movie. Or a cult teen TV hit that the aforementioned director (and yours truly) loves.

But back to the question at hand, PopWatchers: if you were aListmaker, would you have given this award to Cat Power? If not, isyour pick even on the list of finalists?And does it matter to you that an artist has won an award like this (oreven, dare I say, a Grammy) when you’re shopping for music?

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  • ny1

    Aimee Mann. You’re missing Aimee Mann. Listen to her now.

  • Anonymous

    I’m disappointed that she got this over Tom Waits. I really can’t get into her music (though I know many say this about Waits as well). Oh well, hopefully he’ll get it in the future.

  • bravos66

    I saw Chan twice last summer. Best live shows I saw all year – and I see a lot of shows…

  • emily

    mike doughty the former lead singer of soul coughing. his solo stuff is amazing. he is such a great writer.

  • esbeerod

    Hey Bethonie I love Esthero too! Heard Breath From Another back in 01-02 and then picked up Wicked Lil Girls–great album…nice shout out!

  • Maeve

    Please check out Cat Power’s “the Greatest.” It’s awesome.

  • dahippo

    Yes! Another Esthero fan! I’ve been been in love with her music for years. I can’t believe she’s not tremendously popular in the USA. She’s amazing, and so utterly underrated.

  • Jay

    I really think Bjork should have gotten it. She’s crazy talented, just put out an amazing new record, and is as middle of the road as you’re gonna be without isolating a (relatively) wide audience. Maybe another year…

  • Tim

    Definitely Chan’s best record yet, and I don’t begrudge her the award. I just can’t believe The Decemberists weren’t finalists, and The Hold Steady weren’t even nominated!
    For shame!
    This is certainly more fun than the Grammys, though.

  • nico, Paris, France

    ooolala! I love the Cat Power!!!!! she is such an amazing person. she is o! so so! nice! im soo happy she won :) she is greatly loved in France.

  • Slammy

    She has cat power. How can she lose?

  • Anonymous

    Bethonie, You’re writing for the blog of a major magazine. Learn how to use commas. That is all.

  • No Editor

    I assume you mean Damien Rice (who won in 2003) when you refer to “Rice” as a past winner.

  • kellib

    I love her song on that diamond comercial… “How can I tell you that I love you. I love you. How can I tell you that I’m always thinking of you.” She has such a pretty voice.

  • groucho

    I love Chan Marshall too! Her album of covers is unlike anyone has heard from most album of covers where she does “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” without once mentioning the word ‘satisfaction’ but also without being cheeky. I love her latest album ‘The Greatest’ which says it all as well as her past albums.
    Love Tom Waits too although I was surprised he is on ShortList because I considered him more influential than Cat Power. But I am happy with the results.

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