Relatively speaking, ”He War” is one of the heaviest rock songs on Cat Power’s You Are Free disc. It is rumored that frontman Chan Marshall was aided by ex- Nirvana drummer and Foo FightersDave Grohl on several tracks from the album. The typically sparse information found in the credits cryptically attribute the drums to D.G. and T.H. only, which I suppose only helps to foster Marshall’s reticent mystique; the female counterpart to Palace’s reclusive Will Oldham if you will. ”He War” is also one of the more produced tracks found on the album, Grohl providing a shuffling drum groove to crackly guitar, accented by piano runs and high chiming guitar licks. Marshall’s lyrics remain somewhat obtuse as she sings in a close, double tracked harmonies, “I never meant to be the needle that broke your back / You were here, don’t look back / He war / He war / He will kill for you / Hide from who you can / You know you can” that suggest an ill-fated relationship that best be buried in the past. In the second half, Marshall’s vocal takes on a hypnotic vibe that is exaggerated by the phone line fidelity of her voice and an exaggerated delivery as she purrs with almost haughty defiance, “I’m not that hot new chic / And if you want me to run with it / We’re on to your same old trick / Get up and run away with it”. Chiming guitars, floaty backing vocals and the thud of toms drive the point home as the song builds to a climax. ”He War” show signs of a maturity, of an artist more comfortable in the studio setting and confident enough to make it work to her advantage. (amg)
Cat Power - "He War"