- Audio CD (28 Sept. 2009)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Sony Music
- ASIN: B00292BYO8
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (625 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Hackney-born 25-year-old singer Paloma Faith has been collecting critical acclaim throughout 2009, and it’s easy to see why. Her songs shine with soulful pop perfection and the unmistakable stamp of her inimitable persona. She draws on influences as diverse as Billie Holiday, Etta James, P J Harvey and Edith Piaf. Like her music, Paloma’s story never fails to thrill. In the lead up to her becoming a singer, she has been a magician’s assistant, trained contemporary dancer, St. Martin’s alumni with an MA in theatre direction, a performer in burlesque shows, and an actress. Paloma wrote her debut album in the UK, Sweden and America and recorded it entirely in London. The album features writing collaborations with Ed Harcourt, Jodi Marr (Mika), Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Kylie), Steve Robson (Take That) and Jorgen Elofsson.
In the three years since Amy Winehouse’s phenomenally successful Back to Black, the UK charts have been assaulted by an array of soulful starlets chasing a little of the beehive-topped singer’s limelight. Some have been welcomed, some not – here is not the place to name names. Instead, we celebrate the best artist yet in this post-Amy (and Blake, and everything else) field: Paloma Faith.
A native of Hackney, Faith arrives with some fantastically quirky baggage – she’s got a degree in theatre direction, worked as a burlesque dancer not so many moons ago, and is soon to appear in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus after a turn in 2007’s St Trinian’s. It’s easy to be blinded by the girl’s CV, but it soon fades to circumstantial importance once the highlights of this debut album embed themselves in the listener’s head.
Faith’s voice is the first element of these sumptuous arrangements to strike, its idiosyncratic ticks and sharp inflections separating her from the pack in the same way as Duffy – but while the Welsh star's vocals can lack a sincere conveyance of the emotions behind a song, Faith’s sentiments are never in doubt, even on the surprisingly underwhelming (in context) singles Stone Cold Sober and New York. The former sounds designed to soundtrack an advertisement – successfully, as it turns out – and the latter’s lamenting loses some of its edge when one’s unsure if the New York in question is a rival lover or, literally, the city that never sleeps. Whichever it is, it’s stolen our protagonist’s lover away.
Better is the Salt-N-Pepa-recalling Smoke and Mirrors – it’s all in the “ooh-ahh”s – which brings a greater degree of sultry attitude to the fore, and showcases Faith’s neat wordplay – the cadence of her language is intermittently intoxicating in its breathlessness. Broken Doll plays rather too basic an analogy – “I’m a broken doll / and you’re the puppeteer” – but is retrieved from a descent into schmaltz by a cracking Bond-theme-worthy strings flourish in its final third. My Legs Are Weak is an accomplishedly bruised torch song of elegant melodrama, and Play On’s harpsichord stabs and dub-savvy percussion make for a sprightly rendering of elegiac expression.
Perhaps she’s playing up, acting out the role of a superlative pop-soul singer – but whether the lines are predetermined or not, one can’t find much fault with Paloma Faith’s performance here. --Mike Diver
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Top Customer Reviews
Opening track `Stone Cold Sober' feels like the swirling party that it depicts with soaring vocals, energetic horn sections and dynamic orchestration. The vocals have a confidence and swagger to them which makes Paloma stand out from the surrounding confusion which is entirely appropriate for a song about being the "sober" one at a party. It is a perfectly aimed opening track. It is followed by `Smoke and Mirrors' which demonstrates Paloma's theatrical awareness. It builds quickly between verse and chorus which is lead strongly by a good string section. Paloma's voice soars through the chorus. It sounds like she could fill any concert hall in the world effortlessly. Then rather than pushing on with another strong soulful chorus lead song the volume drops down to the lovely `Broken Doll' which rolls in with gentle drums and a soft flowing string section. It is the sound of a writer with a mature and considered approach, and the beautiful note she holds towards the end of the song sounds simply effortless and really adds an extra element of character.
The title track of the album is a strong song backed by relatively simple music composing a gentle piano part, well placed guitar and minimal strings. The result is to focus you on Paloma Faith's voice which is used to great effect throughout the track.Read more ›
This CD is very well constructed and sounds much more mature than the average debut CD. Stone Cold Sober is a great opening track which pulls you in straightaway with Paloma's instantly recognisable voice, clever lyrics and great use of instruments. My attention was grabbed and I was propelled through more of Paloma's imaginative music. A variety of styles and moods keeps you interested throughout and the tracks tick by until you reach the epic New York, a tale of losing her man to the Big Apple, a song which grows with the support of a gospel chorus. The CD drifts into a quieter, slower, but no less impressive end.
Brilliant debut, can't wait to hear more from Paloma!
Her voice and music reminded me, in a good way, of The Noisettes album `Wild Young Hearts' (which is worth a go if you enjoy this). They are quite similar but different enough to stay interesting. Stand out tracks are album opener `Stone Cold Sober', `Upside Down' and `New York'. This last track has great backing vocals in the last minute and my wife loves singing along with it at full belt.
This manages to offer songs with a swinging beat, which are very upbeat and slower tracks like `My Legs are Weak.' which slowly builds and shows Paloma's voice off to wonderful effect.
This is a very accomplished debut album and is well worth a listen. Some may dismiss this as jumping on the bandwagon of Amy Winehouse or Duffy, but a) this is a very different beast and b) it is often much better. I'm glad (for me at least) it lived up to it's promise and suggest you give it a go and make up your own mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great cd from a fabulous artist, who is going from strength to strength.Published 1 month ago by tenby2
My wife says this is a really good album, and recommends its purchase!Published 1 month ago by AnonymousDrone