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 

Album of the Week: Kate Bush, ‘The Dreaming’ (1982)

Kate_Bush_The_Dreaming_Cover

Arguably Kate Bush’s strangest work, I feel like The Dreaming has had a role in shaping my personality. I spent entirely too much time dancing round the kitchen to this album when I was a kid. I was fascinated by the weird, even scary, soundscape. Kate Bush has called it her “I’ve gone mad album” and the listening experience does feel like being inside someone’s mind. As a little kid, I was particularly impressed by the vocals. I couldn’t believe that a woman could make all those different sounds. My favourite track then was ‘Night of the swallow‘ because I liked the strings and bagpipes, but as an adult woman who is more interested in setting boundaries, I find myself most excited by the door-slamming chaos of ‘Get out of my house’.  Play loud, as the sleeve notes advise.

Meanwhile, in other Kate Bush news, hundreds of fans celebrate ‘Wuthering Heights Day’ by recreating the 1978 video.

RIP Lesley Gore

Singer-songwriter dies aged 68

Her signature song is as relevant as ever.

You Don’t Own me

“You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys
You don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys

And don’t tell me what to do
And don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display, ‘cause

Continue reading

Soundtrack to 2013

I’m no music geek, but taking time out to listen to music is quite important to my mental health.  At the beginning of 2013, I felt that my collection had stagnated a bit and decided to try and listen to a wider range of artists.  I remembered my Last.fm. account and made myself use the “mix radio” option.

One of the first new discoveries of the year was Anais Mitchell. I love her album Young Man in America (2012) and her gorgeous traditional folk collaboration with Jefferson Hamer, Child Ballads (2013).  In 2014 I hope to get to know Hadestown.  Santigold was another new find for me in 2013. Her fusion of pop, rock, hip hop and reggae creates a glorious sound. Bat for Lashes grew on me – Natasha Kahn’s slightly eerie melodies didn’t appeal at first, but they crept up on me and I’ve now  got three of her albums.

Continue reading