EVER since her wildly exaggerated role in the Rolling Stones’ 1967 drug bust, Marianne Faithfull has looked destined to go down in history as Mick Jagger’s ex-girlfriend.
Despite the sporadically brilliant solo records – 1979’s Broken English especially – her abilities as a musician have been overshadowed by drug abuse and her slightly curmudgeonly reputation.
By rights, Give My Love to London should give her a fighting chance of being seen as just a singer again. Its stellar cast of songwriting contributors includes Roger Waters and Nick Cave, and they’ve not chucked her any unwanted old rubbish, either.
Waters’ Sparrows Will Sing is a tremendous Velvet Underground-like rant at today’s society, the title track is a wonderful sea shanty ride through the capital and Cave’s elegaic Late Victorian Holocaust, simultaneously heartbreaking and strangely uplifting, is possibly the best thing here.
It’s not just the songs, though. Faithfull’s phrasing and delivery is truly outstanding and she’s capable of being truly fearsome (“You treat your dogs better than you treat each other… The words that come out of your mouth disgust me” rages Mother Wolf), touching (Love More or Less) breezy (the title track) and a dozen other emotions in between. Give My Love to London is the year’s most unexpected comeback. A triumph.
Like this? Try these: Cate le Bon, Mug Museum; Anna Calvi, One Breath; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away
By Andrew Greenhalgh