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4.7 out of 5 stars12
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on 18 May 2004
I would counter the previous review by saying that one of this album's strengths is that it has a "soundtrack" feel to it. While all the songs are distinct and different, the thread of similar instrumentation and mood of delivery mean it is the perfect album to play when you're in a mood for languid, sexy and haunting music. This would also seem to me to be true of the Julee Cruise albums.
It's a credit to M. Faithfull that she's open to a variety of projects - there are few artists who have created records as varied as those in her oeuvre. This is a wonderful record with several unforgettable songs - seeing M.F. perform from this album on Jools Holland was spell-binding, and playing the album has the same effect. I bought it when it came out, and it's still a regular guest in my stereo.
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on 15 September 2008
I thought I would take a punt on this because it was cheap but have had a suprise. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for me this is a beautiful piece of work. I would describe the music as a dense rhythmic sound that moves between 2nd and 4th gear. M does not have a great voice by any stretch of the imagination but she keeps within its boundaries. Many better known female singers could take a leaf out of her book regarding diction as you can actually understand all the words. The lyrics are intelligent and thought provoking very poetical.

Do not put this on if you want the party to go with a swing but if you feel in a reflective relaxing mood then this is the one.
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VINE VOICEon 20 April 2012

This compilation keeps the same beautiful atmospheric and subliminal theme throughout, and no track is out of place here. I dreaded the end of this album it was just SO rich in quality! As soon as it ended, I had to put it on again straightaway! I doubt anybody in the world could sing or perform any of these numbers so well - they were made for this woman alone!

I've never previously given much attention to Ms. Faithfull's singing career - even though I am old enough and was around during the sixties to recall her big chart hit: 'Passing By'. Like many though; I'd always regarded her as a 'Few Hits Wonder' - oh, but listen to this album of pure perfection - and you'd be very, VERY wrong indeed...! I knew she'd had a troubled life, and my mother always said it was the company she kept that both ruined and held her back in her true potential, but to come through all those difficult times and health problems, and to still be making such great music, one can only admire such a lady...

I once heard Marianne singing live on TV some years ago - I didn't know it was her singing 'til I looked; I was in my kitchen and heard it from the TV whilst I cooked my meal late one night, and to be honest, was not impressed to put it mildly... ( I was quite unkind to myself about her voice...) Now; talk about 'eating humble pie'; either she was singing the wrong song that night - or her performance was hindered by her health problems - or I was just in another place at the time - whatever it was; I was not interested... However; a few days ago, I was trawling through the CDs at Amazon, and was somewhat staggered when I was then led to Wikipedia to discover that Marianne Faithfull had recorded no less than 21 studio albums!! This can't be from a woman who cannot sing I thought to myself, and so I gave her another go by selecting the cheapest album title from her back catalogue available at Amazon I could find, and then listened to the Samples - it happened to be this one. I was impressed enough to place my order - and am I SO glad that I did! What I would have missed otherwise!

This album must be the most unique, original, and PERFECT I have in my collection - and I have thousands... Marianne's diction - both when speaking and singing is PERFECT. More importantly; there's SO much sincerity in every single word! Normally in much music these days, this matters little, since the words to most songs are usually pretty pointless and have no impact, but the lyrics to these masterpieces - coupled with Ms. Faithfull's unique style of delivery, make them thoroughly important and a sheer delight to the Listener - I simply cannot believe I have been ignorant of this woman's talent for almost five decades...! Anyone like myself whoever doubted Marianne's talent, should listen to the song 'She' on this album. (not to be confused with the 70s hit by Charles Aznavour which is a totally different song) I guarantee it will change your mind forever!

The exciting thing now of course for me, is that I have no less than TWENTY albums in a huge back catalogue to now look forward to purchasing and enjoying - I doubt very much this album can be surpassed in terms of quality and style, but if any of them are only half as good - then I've got a lot of great listening pleasure to discover!

Thank You Ms. Faithfull - and I'm sorry for my previous opinion. If you happen to be reading this Review, then PLEASE keep up the good work and you GO GIRL!! You've still got it - and still making new fans after almost half a century - and you're still looking great!

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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 April 2015
You can say what you will about Marianne Faithfull, I admit that her voice is a requited taste (now more than ever, but I do love her latest album Give My Love To London so very much), and yes, she does have a chequered past, to say the least, but my God does this lady know how to make good records. In 1995 she gave us all 'A Secret Life', which possibly creates the most consistent atmosphere of any of her albums.

For this record, she enlisted the talents of Angelo Badalamenti, who is perhaps best known for his work on the 'Twin Peaks' soundtrack, to produce the album and write the songs, although she herself collaborated on seven of them. 'A Secret Life' is quite different to any of Marianne's other studio albums, for it really does sound like a soundtrack, and she displays a more tender side of her limited, but always unique voice.

Angelo's lushly orchestrated compositions complement that worldly voice very well, and these great songs are hauntingly beautiful, but, as is the case with a lot of her music, mostly depressing, with one possible exception to the latter, the dreamlike 'Bored By Dreams', which I fell in love with straight away. Chillingly fragile and dark tracks like 'Sleep', 'Losing' and 'Flaming September' is music you should listen to alone quietly, and I adore 'Love in the Afternoon', a realistic account of an unfaithful wife's forbidden passion with a lover.

The talents of Angelo Badalamenti and Marianne Faithfull working together really was a genius combination, and this heavenly record is a dark, moody, atmospheric, but unfortunately under-heard masterpiece. It's a short album, just over thirty minutes in length, but every minute is well spend listening. Marianne herself has said fairly recently that 'A Secret Life' is an album that she ''loves very much", and quite rightly so.
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on 20 April 2009
this is her best album ever bar none. her voice has matured but has not yet gone to seed.
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on 26 February 2009
I had been intrigued to hear this album for years and finally decided to buy it at this bargain price. As ever Marianne does not disappoint here with her voice perfectly met by the instrumental arrangements. While she will always be overshadowed to some extent by the legacy of the Stones her strong solo career should definitely be celebrated more than it is and arguable unlike the Stones she has continually pushed forward in the last 30 years.
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on 17 July 2015
Anything from Marianne is well worth listening too. A very interesting woman.
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on 1 October 2014
A unique work of art - her best in my opinion
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on 21 August 2014
Fantastic...very dark.....
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I'm a great fan of Marianne's, but this album doesn't work for me. It's not that I don't like Badalamenti either - his work with Julee Cruise is great. But somehow the sound does not move me on any level. There's not enough variety, so it sounds like one long, atmospheric piece. It's difficult to make out individual songs and the mood is cold and aloof. Were it not for the one gripping track Losing, I would have awarded this album 2 stars. Losing, however, although very sad, has a gorgeous poetic quality with its divine melody and lyrics one can identify with. Definitely one of her greatest songs; what a pity that it's sort of lost on this failed experiment of an album.
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