Marianne Faithfull a true rock survivor
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)