Marianne Faithfull, ‘Negative Capability’ (2018)

Album cover is a colour photograph of Marianne Faithful looking directly at the camera. She is holding a cane in the foreground.

“It’s taken me a long time to learn, in fact my whole life so far”

Damn Marianne! This album near destroyed me.

Negative Capability seems to occupy a similar territory to some of Leonard Cohen’s last works. There’s a very conscious sense of someone staring down mortality and trying to tell us something of what they’ve learned from a long life.

Nick Cave and Ed Harcourt are perfect songwriting collaborators for Faithfull. The instrumentation is gorgeous and the songs bring out her strengths, along with a sensitive production from Head, Warren Ellis and Rob Ellis. Yes, her voice is cracked and broken, but boy, can she still put a song across.

And the songs! Faithfull’s 1965 hit ‘And Tears Go By’ has a very different resonance when sung by a 72 year-old woman (“I sit and watch the children play”) and is especially moving because we know what Hell she went through in the following years.  ‘The Gypsy Faerie Queen’ is a beautiful song and Nick’s Cave’s rich backing vocals give me chills.  There’s a broken-down cover of ‘It’s all over now, baby blue’. No Faithfull album would be complete without a rambling, angry, in-your-face song like ‘They Come at Night’.

One to treasure.

Lovely little video about the making of the album and interview with Faithfull here 

Soundtrack to the Summer of 2013

The voice of the summer was probably Marianne Faithful. I picked up her albums Vagabond Ways(1999) and Kissin’ Time (2002) in a secondhand record shop a few months back. One of Faithful’s strengths as an artist is her ability to choose fantastic people to collaborate with. Her albums are so well produced and, despite the wide-ranging material and song styles, retain a distinctive sense of identity. Vagabond Ways is sort of a cabaret album produced by Daniel Lanois.  It features her version of Tower of Song which is one of my favourite Leonard Cohen covers. My other favourite track on there is ‘File it under fun from the past‘ which is so bitter, melancholy and defiant. Kissin’ Time is perhaps a little more edgy, with songs produced by Beck, Jarvis Cocker and Billy Corgan.

Earlier in the summer I bought Collected by Massive Attack which is a great anthology.  My favourite Massive Attack song is ‘Angel‘. I hasn’t been off my mp3. player in at least 5 years.

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