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Cat Power Illuminates Gorgeous New Song ‘Bully’ on BBC Radio

Chan Marshall, Cat Power

Cat Power’s Chan Marshall has graced us with another chance to hear her heartbreaking piano-and-vocals ballad “Bully,” and she has also offered the faintest of hints about its origins. Marshall debuted the wrenching reminiscence on BBC’s Later… With Jools Holland last month, and you can buy it on iTunes, but the video of her TV performance is no longer available in the United States. Luckily, Marshall’s rendition this morning on BBC Radio 4’s “Woman’s Hour” (via Pitchfork) is every bit as stirring as our memories of the song’s earlier performance, and you can listen to it here around the 18:38 mark. The deeply moving way Marshall whispers, “Thank you,” after the last piano chords fade out — well, just listen.

Marshall also shed a little (and only a little) light on the origins of “Bully.” While she explained that another Sun song, “Nothing But Time,” was inspired by online bullying her then-tween goddaughter experienced, here’s what she said about “Bully”: “That was actually one of the songs that I had made up before I recorded any of the material from Sun. I had a whole bunch of songs, but what inspired that, I was, as usual, waiting for the piano to get tuned. You know, the time when you’re not really thinking about — the free thought, or whatever. It was about past experience.”

Again, the song starts around 18:38, and the interview starts around 12:40, over here.