Mar­i­anne Faith­full a true rock survivor

Ottawa Sun - - SHOWBIZ -

Mar­i­anne Faith­full is a great mu­si­cal survivor. She went from pure-voiced chanteuse of As Tears Go By to em­blem of 1960s drug ex­cess be­fore re-emerg­ing in 1979 with Bro­ken English, a soul-bar­ing blast of an al­bum that still packs a punch. Since then, Faith­full has ma­tured into a diva of melan­choly, her ex­pres­sive voice rough­ened and deep­ened by time and life. Neg­a­tive Ca­pa­bil­ity, the 71-year-old singer’s 21st al­bum, is a mov­ing, qui­etly ma­jes­tic col­lec­tion of songs dwelling on ag­ing, pain, loss and lone­li­ness — hardly the usual rock ’n’ roll fare.

Faith­full is chief lyri­cist, work­ing with mu­si­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors in­clud­ing Mark Lane­gan, Ed Har­court and Nick Cave, who co-wrote, plays pi­ano and sings on the sin­gle The Gypsy Faerie Queen, a mid­sum­mer night’s med­i­ta­tion in­spired by Shake­spearean mys­ti­cism.

Faith­full and her pro­duc­ers, Rob El­lis and War­ren El­lis (one of Cave’s Bad Seeds), have crafted a suite of tune­ful, au­tum­nal, ten­ta­tively hope­ful songs, with sim­ple, ef­fec­tive ar­range­ments driven by acous­tic gui­tar, med­i­ta­tive pi­ano and som­bre strings. Col­lec­tively, they work a mourn­ful magic.

But it’s not all dark­ness. Faith­full’s in­domitable spirit seeks more — more life, more hope, more love.

Mar­i­anne Faith­full Neg­a­tive Ca­pa­bil­ity (BMG)

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