My Favorite Album: Black Belt Eagle Scout on Cat Power’s “Moon Pix” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, June 16th, 2024  

My Favorite Album: Black Belt Eagle Scout on Cat Power’s “Moon Pix”

"This album was definitely one of those albums where you fall in love with it while you fall in love with somebody else."

Jan 27, 2020 Black Belt Eagle Scout Photography by Sarah Cass Bookmark and Share

I attended college in Portland, Oregon, and moved there primarily because of the music scene and the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. I was dating somebody at the time whose favorite artist was Cat Power, and, of course, my favorite artist then became Cat Power, and I discovered this album Moon Pix. It’s funny because I don’t start the album until after the first two songs, but it’s because the person I was dating would always start the album there. So it starts off with “No Sense.” It’s just a very beautiful album, and I would just listen to it all of the time, pretty much nonstop. The way that I listen to music, I get really obsessed with an artist or an album, and I listen to that artist for a couple of years. So for about three years of my college life, I would play other things, but I would always have on this album.

My favorite song on the album is “Metal Heart.” It’s sort of a simple guitar line, but the way that the notes are collectively put together, you can tell it’s going to be a sad song. All of these songs are kind of sad. The first time I heard the record, I just felt love and sadness. I felt beauty, I think. I remember after I had been listening to it for a little bit, I traveled back home to my reservation, and my mom had a bike at the time. It wasn’t raining that day, so I went out on my bike and had this iPod, and I would play that album and bike around. This album was definitely one of those albums where you fall in love with it while you fall in love with somebody else.

To be totally honest, it was the soundtrack to this relationship that I was in, and when the relationship ended the album took on this whole other sadness. Definitely there was a time when I couldn’t listen to it. It felt like, “Okay, these are remnants of this person I was with, and I’m still trying to listen to this album.” Time has passed since that happened, so now I feel comfort when I listen to it, because it reminds me a really great time in my life and a chunk of who I used to be, I guess.

I don’t know what she was trying to portray within the arc of her album. To me, there’s a lot of emotion in it. I feel like I write from an emotional place, and that’s why I connected with it so much, because I can feel that emotion. When I first heard the record, I was a drummer in a band. Then after I heard the album for a couple months, I switched to playing guitar and I did start writing songs. The songs that I was writing, they did come from an emotional place. I think in some way it made me feel okay, that it was possible to write songs. It wasn’t one of those albums that is like, “Oh, this super inspired me to write this whole thing.” It didn’t impact me in that way. But listening to it and always having it as a support system, it definitely made me feel comfortable like, “Yeah, I can write music.”

(Katherine Paul is an indigenous queer musician who grew up in a small Indian reservation, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Northwest Washington, and is based in Portland. She has just released her sophomore album, At the Party With My Brown Friends, via Saddle Creek. Portions of Katherine Paul’s conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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