My next cover record is going to be "Blood on the Tracks." I'm hoping that I can get the rights through Bob Dylan so I can just sing over the top of his recording and re-release the album with my voice on it. Like Pussy Riot -- I wish that I was as rich as Oprah so I could fly 5 million women from all over the world [to Russia]. They were saying that some people think of you as this icon of melancholy, and that this album is really a departure and different from earlier stuff. I'm actually looking forward to not just surviving anymore. There's a lot of bad news in reality, but I'm me and I have my life and if I can talk about the news when I have the chance, to help or do something in the moment I have a microphone or something ...It may sound cliché to say she cares too much -- and if there's one thing Marshall hates, it's clichés -- but it explains a lot: why she feels so low after seemingly successful shows; why she quit music for eight months and started again from scratch after a friend pooh-poohed the first batch of songs she'd written for "Sun"; why she has nothing for admiration for Kanye West's decision to call out George W. These days, Marshall is feeling independent and strong -- capable of handling any personal challenges that come her way -- and her music, consequently, is moving away from confessional laments and toward a spirited social critique, especially on the first single, "Ruin," which was released on June 18. It's like, Oh, I see, the universe is like completely relaxed for these 22 minutes. And I think because my dad wasn't around a lot when I was growing up, as a woman I have been drawn to a certain type of relationship with men. So when you talk about the record, does it reflect your relationship na na na? Because when I was recording the record, there was no death in my relationship. I thought you just said, "Duuuuuude." And I would have loved it if you had. I didn't like that I wasn't playing music anymore, and I really wanted to.All of which sounds terribly serious, but the truth is that Chan (it's pronounced like "Sean") Marshall was a delight to speak to -- playful, engaged and uncommonly open. We met briefly at Matador Records' 21st-anniversary party in Las Vegas two years ago. So sometimes you really wish you could be doing what you really wish you were doing, but when you don't do a good job -- when you do a shitty job -- you're aware of it, you know? And that makes everything seem worthwhile, to keep looking for that journey again. There was fortitude and the possibility of all kinds of things that could happen and do happen in the world all the time that we can't help but wonder about or process or work through on our own time, no matter who we're married to, dating, got our heart broken by or pining for. And a lot of times I have these little things that I do over and over and over, these little musical tricks or whatever, that I just play to calm down.
Last month Giovanni Ribisi and Agyness Deyn shocked everyone with their quickie wedding at City Hall, and now, the actor is selling his Silver Lake, Ca hoe to move in with his new bride.
"Everybody tends to think I'm crazy, which is the biggest problem in my life," she told me, and she wasn't just spouting rock-star hyperbole. About how, yeah, you record it, but if you stay alive and you keep playing it, the song is always alive too. And I feel like in the covers that you've done, you've been able to transform those songs -- Well, here's the thing about that: even with classical music hundreds of years ago, people always played covers. It reminds me of a place in me that's just happy and that's it, you know?
She was once infamous for abruptly ending concerts because of real or perceived problems, and she has spoken candidly about the in-patient care she received after suffering a breakdown in 2006. Well, I think with someone who -- I don't want to say something stupid like "believes in what they're saying." That sounds really stupid. And with a life, a life always changes, or goes through changes, and the person singing the song also goes through changes and stuff. From folk to tribal to Cab Calloway, Cole Porter, Gershwin to the Rolling Stones, whose first record was all covers, to country-western, bebop, blues, and even the referencing in classic hip hop to clichéd love ballads of the 80s or whatever -- that is kinda gone, and that's just terrifying to me. I'm not gonna carry somebody else's fucking bullshit and protect them through it so they don't have a temper, so I don't have to see the ugly parts of them.
And there's so much shame -- I think so many Americans are ashamed of themselves because of the government's reaction, and I think Kanye was just emotionally bound in that moment. Well, let me ask you this, because I feel like maybe I struck a nerve with my Jay-Z remark. NPR called you "indie rock's standard bearer for melancholy navel gazing." Does that piss you off? Well, they went on to say that this is your best album and praise it through the roof. I think, as a 40-year-old woman, I'm finally -- not finally, but I'm looking forward to 42, 49, 55, 68.
But I gave away my laptop, because I fuckin' hate those fuckin' things. Oh, and the other one I want to do is "The Harder They Come." But I'd have to get other people to sing it with me. What do you think of Kanye's new song, "New God Flow"? Because the whole world was watching and waiting for seven days. It's called "Back in the Days" and it's a seven-inch [as well as an i Tunes-only bonus track for the new album]. So if someone's appointing me the head of pity -- I'm sure that isn't what they meant, because I respect NPR incredibly.