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Before the Poison

Marianne Faithfull Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: 8.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Marianne Faithfull’s long and distinguished career has seen her emerge as one of the most original female singersongwriters this country has produced; Utterly unsentimental yet somehow affectionate, Marianne possesses that rare ability to transform any lyric into something compelling and utterly personal; and not just on her own songs, for she has become a master of the art of finding ... Read more in Amazon's Marianne Faithfull Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 Nov 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naive Sa*****
  • ASIN: B0002ANQQI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,817 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. The mistery of love 3:510.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. My friends have 2:500.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Crazy love 4:040.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Last song 3:190.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. No child of mine 6:150.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Before the poison 4:090.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. There is a ghost 4:330.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. In the factory 3:500.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Desperanto 4:230.89  Buy MP3 
Listen10. City of quartz 3:420.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Often, attempts by more senior artists to make an album with a younger generation tend to fall a bit flat; Marianne Faithfull's Before the Poison is a shining exception. The success is due in no small part to PJ Harvey writing and producing half of the songs, with Nick Cave, Damon Albarn and composer Jon Brion making up the rest. Faithfull is by no means a great singer in the traditional sense but her voice has a distinct charm that takes on the personality within a song. For example, you can hear PJ Harvey in the lo-fi opener "The Mystery of Love" yet she doesn't sing a note; the same goes for Nick Cave and Damon Albarn.

For the most part, the PJ Harvey collaborations are gritty lo-fi guitar numbers and Nick Cave's are dark piano ballads--it's difficult to pick highlights as the quality is unwavering but the catchy chorus and rolling guitar hooks of "My Friends Have" and "No Child of Mine" are instantly memorable. The last two tracks differ greatly from the rest, both sounding like nothing else on the album. Nick Cave's "Desperanto" is a bizarre hybrid of guitar-based gangster funk, screaming rockabilly sax and a rabble shouting Jim Morrison lyrics, all topped off with a melody akin to Madonna's "Vogue"--it does sound as odd as the description but is a truly incredible piece of music. No less contemporary is "City of Quartz", a kind of Rogers and Hammerstein number voiced on a collection of clock chimes--again, incredible stuff. With absolutely no filler, Before the Poison is a truly great album that is quirky, cutting edge and ridiculously easy to listen to.--David Trueman

BBC Review

Two years after her last album, Kissin Time, and fresh from her recent appearance in William Burroughs' stage musical The Black Rider, Marianne Faithfull returns with Before the Poison. On Kissin Time it was Beck and Billy Corgan, amongst others, who shared the songwriting and playing duties. This time her fellow passengers, more suited perhaps to her nicotine-stained voice and brooding style, are Nick Cave and PJ Harvey (and their respective bands), with one track each from Damon Albarn and American composer Jon Brion.

Nick Cave's three songs, co-produced with Hal Wilner, are by far the strongest here. The haunting "There is a Ghost" and "Crazy Love", the latter bearing no relation at all to the lazy Van Morrison tune of the same name, feature members of the Bad Seeds plus Cave on tinkling piano. They evoke rainy European boulevards and Proustian moments: classic Cave and a perfect match for Faithfull's measured vocals. The third Cave composition, "Desperanto", crackles like pylons in a thunderstorm. Faithfull raps over a howling sax and wailing Hammond, while the Bad Seeds chant (from the neighbouring room, it seems) lines by Jim Morrison. Yes, it's that odd.

Other than Faithfull's slowburn drawl, there is little in Harvey's contributions - especially "The Mystery of Love" and the oblique "In the Factory" - to distinguish them from Harvey's own recordings: good news, if you like Polly Harvey's work. "My Friends Have" is built around a typically taut Harvey riff and throbs along in a punky kind of way. The languid "Before the Poison", another Faithfull/Harvey co-write, is an odd choice for the title track.

Heavy on the minor chords, Damon Albarn's ballad, "Last Song", resembles Coldplay or Radiohead, with a nod towards the mordant Jacques Brel. Musically speaking, how much further has the former-Blur frontman travelled than his Britpop rivals?

Closing the album on an unsettling note is Jon Brion's nursery-lullaby "City of Quartz", played on a variety of obscure instruments, such as the "paintbrush" guitar, toy piano and "fake glockenspeil". It's apparently about the fall of Babylon, although it may well be inspired by the Mike Davies book of the same name, which portrays a dystopic Los Angeles. If a film is ever made of Davies' City of Quartz, here's the perfect soundtrack.

Before the Poison is a career high for Ms Faithfull and a timely release in the wake of acclaimed new albums from Cave and Harvey. --Rob Webb

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius 17 Sep 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Her best album since "Broken English", the whole record has this lush, dark vibe about it. It takes a couple of listens to get used to Marianne singing against the more gritty, guitar-based tracks, while others are more reminiscent of "Strange Weather". Having said that, there is not a single bad moment and she makes each track her own. Particularly brilliant is the Nick Cave collaboration "There is a Ghost" with its heartbreaking melody. Her voice is richer than ever and versatile enough to capture the emotion and story behind each song. She really just keeps getting better and better!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marianne Faithfull, The Gothic Queen 17 Oct 2004
Format:Audio CD
Well, I think that most of us that love Marianne Faithfull were secretly hoping for this day. The day that she would do an album with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave. Well guess what! The day has arrived! "Before the Poison" is beautiful dark masterpiece. "No Child of Mine" written by PJ Harvey has a great hook. It sounds as if it could have been a Rolling Stones song. "There is a Ghost" is a beautiful eerie ballad written by both Marianne Faithfull and Nick Cave. Warren Ellis ( Bad Seeds and The Dirty Three fame) adds a nice mournful touch with his sad violin. And lastly, Jon Brion's magical "City of Quartz" puts the icing on the cake. It has been decided. Marianne Faithfull is the Gothic Queen. Maybe next time Marianne can work Sandy Dillon into the equation.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
It's one of those few albums i listen to all the way through without skipping a track. Marianne has NEVER sounded better. Hal Wilner is the ONLY producer she's worked with who knows how to properly capture her unusual voice (listen to how genuinely beautiful her vocal on "Last Song" is inparticular) and the songs are of a very high standard.

PJ Harvey's contributions are brilliant and theirs a great writing appearance from Damon Albarn but the real treats on here come from the songs Nick Cave provides (how Marianne and Nick never got together YEARS ago is anyone's guess, they both seem to have found a muse in each other).

Credit where it's due to Faithfull however, the songs which feature her unusual abstract lyrics are the best on the album. It's more satisfying than both "Strange Weather" and "Broken English" put together.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Empress of Art Rock 4 Oct 2004
Format:Audio CD
Marianne Faithfull strips it all down and lays it all out with the awesome, pure, raw emotion that she's known for. The entire cd is filled with life-learning experiences that showcase a voice lightyears ahead of it's time, yet stained by the past. That voice, so distinctive, enhances all of the acoustic-esque songs. Fantastically brilliant!! Critics and fans will be extremely pleased by Marianne's latest release. Once again, Ms. Faithfull has set a very high bar that all other female rockers, young & old, will aspire to. "Before The Poison" is dark, volatile, biting, engaging, sad, insane, foreboding, thought provoking, image invoking, and laslty, flawless!! Marianne has outdone herself yet again, and proven beyond a doubt that she is an artist like no other with a talent for lyrics that can only be called outstanding!! This cd is like nothing she has ever done before...not to mention that the photos & layout are absolutely gorgeous!! Why has she not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?? America Loves You Marianne!! Cool, very cool.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Faithfull In A Long, Long Time 13 Mar 2005
Format:Audio CD
I have to say that my respect for Marianne Faithfull has been greater for her character and the bare honesty with which she's lived her life, than due to my love for most of her recordings of the last fifteen years.
Of course, this has changed dramatically with the release of Before The Poison. This album reveals Faithfull's talent and depth of emotion more than anything in a long time, perhaps harking back as far as Broken English.
It is, actually, an interesting paradox, that she can sound so authentically herself although most of the great songs in this CD have been written by other people, and in some cases -No Child Of Mine and Last Song- recorded by their authors before this album was even planned.
Whereas Kissin' Time, her album prior to this, also counted on a host of great writers -Beck, Jarvis Cocker and Billy Corgan- this one takes the promise of those collaborations to a higher, more intense level.
Eight of the ten songs included here are written or co-written by Nick Cave or PJ Harvey, and the chemistry between them and Ms. Faithfull is stunning.
Harvey's The Mystery Of Love and In The Factory could have been included in Uh Huh Her, yet sung by Marianne they were worth saving for this record. In them you'll find the same fierce vulnerability that Harvey's latest exuded. Of course, Child Of Mine -which was included in Uh Huh Her- deserves the same praise, as Faithfull's weathered and wise voice carves new truths out of it.
No less impressive is Cave's work. There Is A Ghost and Crazy Love must be counted among Cave's most accomplished ballads, as touching and solemnly vulnerable as the best of Boatman's Call.
Last but not least, her version of Damon Albarn's Last Song is equally impressive.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning tour de force from rock survivor 9 Nov 2004
Format:Audio CD
This album sent chills up my back when I first heard it. A long time fan of both Marianne and Polly, to hear them working together is amazing. Nick Cave's sound too works as well with Marianne's voice, and sitting next to Polly's instrumentation. Unlike MF's previous CD, this album coheres well, and makes sense when heard next to Vagabond Ways.
Love the artwork too, especially the shot of a fork from Marianne's family silver (check out the engraving, which I assume is for Sacher-Masoch).
For new-comers to Marianne, this is a great place to start - and for fans who've been around a bit longer, this record can sit proudly next to Broken English and Blazing Away.
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