02 November 2018 (released)
31 October 2018
It is very difficult to review an album such as this – it’s one where you either ‘get’ her message or don’t and if you do get it then this will have a life-changing and incredible emotional reaction on you.
Marianne Faithfull has been around on the music and society scene for over 50 years, Mick Jagger’s muse, close friend and confidante to the likes of Anita Pallenberg and musically, a songstress and interpreter with an iconic approach to delivering a song.
She has had a life filled with love and pain, misunderstood by so many as a sexpot and mistreated by lovers and friends. An ex-junkie and now fighting against crippling arthritis, she has never really been hiding in the shadows but equally we have never really heard her sing about herself.
This album changes all that.
Her voice is that of an ageing great aunt who is trying to tell you how not to make the same mistakes that she made. Hard edged and almost whispered, her voice tells you of her pain and anger but there is an undertone that suggests hope as well – she is trying to make you make the world a better place in future.
From the outset, on the beautiful and dreadfully sad ‘Misunderstanding’, you know that you are hearing her pain and her determination to tell her truths. Behind her voice is the viola of Warren Ellis, almost cutting the soundstage into shreds as Faithfull sings a song of exasperation at her own and her lovers misinterpretation of feelings.
‘Gypsy Faerie Queen’ is very much a song about Faithfull, written with Nick Cave, and while it is beautiful there is a touch of wistfulness at never being able to catch up to the Gypsy Faerie Queen.
One of the biggest hits for Faithfull in the past was her version of ‘As Tears Go By’ – written for her by Jagger & Richards. This version catches her at her most reflective, deeply emotive and really catching the meaning of the song.
Throughout the album you know that you are hearing Marianne Faithfull allow you a glimpse into her soul. This is the most personal album she has written in her long career and all the pain that she is going through is coupled with the pain of her many difficult years and experiences.
Her version here of Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’ is dark and bittersweet.
And then there is ‘They Come At Night’ – starkly representing the people “on the wrong side of the gun” whether describing Nazi marches of Islamist terror attacks – she sang it at the Bataclan after the disaster there “while they were still wiping the blood off the wall”.
It is an incredibly strong album and desperately, heartrendingly, sad but it is the album she HAD to make and for all the sadness in it, it is a wonderful album and a statement.