Recordings: The Walkmen – ""Pussy Cats"" Starring the Walkmen

    Pussy Cats” Starring the Walkmen is a song-for-song replica of an album released in 1974 by Harry Nilsson. It’s enjoyable enough — the music is upbeat, jaunty even — with all horns and pianos and raucous drums. And Hamilton Leithauser’s scratchy Dylanesque drawl is a great match for later-life Nilsson’s. But that’s the exact point of contention: It’s all been done before. So why put time and money — they’ll be pulling the material for their upcoming tour off of this album as well — into a seemingly redundant endeavor?

    Is it a joke? A simple tribute? Or does music have some intrinsic value that is re-established with every new recording or jam session or concert, even if there is no innovation involved?

    Other artistic fields get away with it — some painters dedicate their lives to copying what they see in front of them as precisely as possible, and what’s photography if not the seizing of a moment that has already been experienced to later share with others? Are musicians held to a different standard? Perhaps we can forgive the Walkmen and just appreciate, maybe for the first time, the creativity of a man who died over a decade ago and its precise replication.

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