Has it really been three years since Marianne Faithfull released 21st album ‘Negative Capability’? Yes, it has.
Since then, the world imploded, lockdown has become the norm and Faithfull contracted COVID. Thankfully, she beat the virus and has now released her 22nd album ‘She Walks In Beauty’.
Instead of re-imagined versions from her back catalogue this time Faithfull and frequent collaborator Warren Ellis put Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Wordsworth, Thomas Hood and Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poems to music. Before playing the album, I wondered why this album was recorded. Why do we need it? After listening to the title track, I immediately forgot this, and felt foolish for thinking that.
What makes the album so delightful is Faithfull’s voice? You can hear her experiences in every word she says. Her delivery is precise yet warming. It embraces you like a hug from a friend you haven’t seen for a while. Musically Ellis has created understated gossamer soundscapes that emphasise the emotions of the poems but don't draw the attention from Faithfull’s voice.
The line “She walks in beauty” opens the album, but is also the takeaway too. Faithfull has lived a full live, filled with love, loss, and redemption, but she has always walked in beauty.
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Words: Nick Roseblade
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