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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blonde Aggression
Although the boundaries have shifted in the decades since this album’s release, Broken English has lost none of its trenchant appeal. And despite Courtney Love and many angry grrrl groups using explicit lyrics, Why d’Ya Do It? still sounds fresh, perhaps because it originally was written as a poem by Heathcote Williams. Her version of Lennon’s Working...
Published on 24 Oct 2002 by Pieter Uys

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Marianne Faithfull: Broken English
This was a favourite of mine, some great songs and an unearthly chanting performance from La Faithfull. I bought it recently because I found my original copy, on vinyl,in the attic, too scratched to use. And thios - well, it hasn't changed, it's still got somw good material and performances on it, but I was left thinking mainly about how much a thing of the past it...
Published on 24 Oct 2011 by scribe


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blonde Aggression, 24 Oct 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
Although the boundaries have shifted in the decades since this album’s release, Broken English has lost none of its trenchant appeal. And despite Courtney Love and many angry grrrl groups using explicit lyrics, Why d’Ya Do It? still sounds fresh, perhaps because it originally was written as a poem by Heathcote Williams. Her version of Lennon’s Working Class Hero sounds as sharp as ever, while the brooding title track is still relevant today. On the melodic side, Lucy Jordan has become quite a standard and could easily be considered a country weepie, while Witches Song remains eerie and anthemic. The sound is typical 80’s rock with tight musicianship supporting this classic monument to decadence and despair. This is probably her best selling album of all time for all the wrong reasons! The other two works from the same period, A Child’s Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances, are equally excellent and will richly reward the listener. Nevertheless, Broken English stands tall as a masterpiece of broken taboos, subversive poetics and timeless songs.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic slice of the 70s, 18 May 2004
This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
This album astonished listeners when released, and still has the power to shock. The classic sound that ties it to label mates like Grace Jones is still fresh, particularly on the opener and title track, Broken English. The instrumentation is bare and pure, leaving space for Marianne's voice - much changed since her last major outing on record - to enchant and beguile. Her voice is like nothing you've heard, but is all the better for it - like late, late Billie Holliday, though you feel the pain you also feel the experience, and it takes the songs to a different and superior place. A classic slice of the 70s.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As a teenager this album meant nothing but 15 years on !, 8 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
I first heard this album 15 years ago in my late teens and all I could hear was depression.Now in my mid thirties I realise that it is depressing in one sense but it puts into words and music all the feelings and emotions that we all feel at some point. This album is not to be listened to when you are feeling right in the gutter but when you are on the way back up. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan is not only haunting but beautifully orchestrated. Buy this album and try it and ignore the twee music that Marianne produced in the 60's because this is different gravy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue decadence, 17 Feb 2011
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
Although the boundaries of the permissible have shifted since this album's release, Broken English has lost none of its trenchant appeal. And despite many female artists now using explicit lyrics, Why d'Ya Do It? still sounds fresh, perhaps because it originally was written as a poem by Heathcote Williams.

Her version of Lennon's Working Class Hero sounds as sharp as ever, while the brooding title track is still relevant today. On the melodic side, Lucy Jordan has become quite a standard and could easily be considered a country weepy, while Witches Song remains eerie and anthemic. The sound is typical 80's rock with tight musicianship supporting this classic monument to decadence and despair.

Marianne discusses the recording of Broken English in her autobiography Faithfull; Brain Drain was co-written by the tragic singer-songwriter Tim Hardin who might have inspired the title of Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding.

This is probably her best selling album of all time for all the wrong reasons! The other two works from the same period, Child's Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances, are equally excellent and will richly reward the listener. Nevertheless, Broken English stands tall as a masterpiece of broken taboos, subversive poetics and timeless songs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marianne at her best, 6 April 2014
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken English (MP3 Download)
I'm old enough to remember Marianne's hits first time round. Her high pitched and relatively naive renditions that took her into the charts. Then followed a descent into drug abuse and personal difficulty and she arise, reinvented.

For me, this album epitomises every strength she has. It's filled with heartbreaking soul, her voice, much changed, delivering the heartfelt emotion behind every word. She doesn't need soaring strings. This is spare and often beautiful prose, put to music. A couple of tracks bring tears to my eyes every time I hear them and this is an album I'll love forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Classic, 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
Simply one of the best records that Marianne has ever made. A breakthrough record at the time of first release and still sounds fresh today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting a classic, 16 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
I always thought the original had great songs with too much production.Typical 80's.Now the stripped back version on disc 2 has become my favourite.Nice extra's from singles too and Derek Jarman short that has not been seen very often.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 10 Feb 2013
By 
peterc10 (South East England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken English (MP3 Download)
Marianne Faithfull went off of my radar after the 60s when she produced some pretty songs, but was better known for being Mick Jagger's "other half" and being at the Stones drug bust. But in the back of my mind for many years there has been her song used as in the film Thelma and Loiuse, which I just loved the lyrics of. I now know it is called The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.

Then I watched a TV documentary about women singers, which included coverage of this album, said to be her best, and produced after a very dodgy period in her life. So, out of curiosity I went onto Amazon and listened to the samples, with the idea of probably buying the one song I remembered. I was blown away. What a fantastic album. Why have I not heard of it before? The answer to that last question is that, by 1979 when this album came out, I was no longer is the swinging 60s listening to music, but was struggling with a busy job, kids and a mortgage!

Marianne is not a "good" singer in the purist sense, but, on this record it shows that she is very good at interpreting thoughtful songs. This is a brilliant album, more fitting to be thought of as one produced in the 60s, in its feel. But it is an album that I suspect she could never have produced in the 60s because it seems to be all about her feelings of what happened to her during and after her 15 minutes of fame. And the bitterness and cynicism is there to be heard, although they do not spoil the album.

I am glad I have been able to add this one to my collection under the growing head of "ones I missed first time around".
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her Voice Damaged by Smoke, Drink and Drugs Got Stronger, 11 Aug 2012
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
"Broken English" was released in 1979, long after anyone expected to hear anything more from Marianne Faithfull, who had been categorized as a one hit wonder with the bland "As Tears Go By." And there it was, dark, dark. A Time magazine reviewer had called her later Strange Weather, upon its 1987 release, `music to slit your wrists to.' But the same might well have been said of BROKEN ENGLISH, except for the shock factor. Gone was Faithfull's bland chorister's voice, replaced by one that had been damaged by smoking various substances, drink, drugs, and riotous living. And it had become stronger; both albums were great critical favorites.

As an album, BROKEN is unique, to my knowledge, in one odd way: there are so few songs on it. But they are among Faithfull's most famous, and they constitute her signature album. She herself has called it, in her autobiography, her masterpiece. The songs are of loss, disillusionment, the backing tight, edgy, punky. Her voice is, of course, now like nobody else's, and neither is the sound of her backing group, consisting on this record of Diane Birch, Frankie Collins, Jim Cuomo, Guy Humphries, Joe Mavety, Maurice Pert, Barry Reynolds, Terry Stannard, Darryl Way, Steve Winwood, and Steve York. Shel Silverstein's "Ballad of Lucy Jordan," of a suburban housewife, who's had it with her starveling life, has never been done better. John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" could match its writer for bite. The title song, "Broken English," written by Faithfull and her frequent collaborator Barry Reynolds, with her backing musicians, Joe Mavety, Steve York and Terry Stannard, is as fresh today as the day it was written. As is "Witches Song" by the same team. "Guilt," by Barry Reynolds, has stood the test of time. But all the chat and outrage at the time, of course, was Faithfull's XXX reaction to a partner's infidelity: "Why D'Ya Do It," based on a poem by Heathcote Williams, written by Faithfull and the same team of musicians.

Marianne Faithfull has had a remarkably long singing career; the British songster started out in the 1960's as the pretty girlfriend of Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, and in 1964 delivered her pretty, tinkling version of "As Tears Go By," written for her by Jagger and Keith Richards, also of The Stones.

The Hollies, British rock group, wrote their 1960's hit song "Hey Carrie Ann, Now what's Your Game" about her, changing the name only slightly to protect the not-so-innocent. If there's one thing for sure, she was at the heart of London during its swinging sixties. As they say, men wanted her, women wanted to be her: though, let's face it, quite a few women probably wanted her too. But, between her sweet teenaged hit and the present day, quite a few tears have gone by for Faithfull, convent-educated daughter of an Austrian countess. She descended into homeless drug addiction, and stayed there for a long time before, with the help of her son, she was able to pull herself out.

These days Faithfull is producing a lot of music and she tours. I've been lucky enough to catch her several times, most memorably as she introduced Seven Deadly Sins, based on the work by famed German composer Bertolt Brecht, "Seven Deadly Sins." This was in New York: at Brooklyn's historic Brooklyn Academy of Music. And as she also introduced Blazing Away, also in Brooklyn, at Saint Ann's. (I've reviewed this album in these pages.) The artist has written an autobiography,Marianne Faithfull, that I have also read and reviewed in these pages. She acts, too. Most notably, you might catch her as the feminist God in the British television comedy series,Absolutely Fabulous - Absolutely Everything Box Set [DVD] [1992]. She is one of the finest art rock singers now working, but, firstly, you'd better appreciate rock to appreciate her. And furthermore, a warning to the sensitive; on this album she uses some language you just may never have heard a woman using before, let alone on record. It is strong stuff, but it is magnificent.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marianne Faithfull's Bold Comeback Revisited, 24 Feb 2013
By 
Dennis Lee Cleven (Madison, WI, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken English (Audio CD)
Marianne Faithfull had a lucrative career in the mid-60s. I enjoy her recordings from that era very much. When her label pulled her single with "Sister Morphine" as the b-side, she was fed up. Decca did not want her singing about drugs even though she wrote the lyrics to the song. An album of covers entitled "Rich Kid Blues" was recorded in 1971 but wasn't released until 1980. A mid-70s recording contract with NEMS followed but "Dreamin' My Dreams" contained some weak tracks and the album was revamped and re-released as "Faithless". The only single that became a hit was "Dreamin' My Dreams" in Eire. Marianne Faithfull got a band together and "Broken English" was an amazing comeback for her. Her voice had deepened. It was a lived in voice with a cracked larynx but she knew how to emote with it. This two disc set is great! The second disc provides the songs as they were going to be released with a different backing track. It is very good. "Sister Morphine" was to be included but it just didn't fit in with the other songs. A 10 minute video directed by Derek Jarmen is included and the 12" versions of "Broken English" and "Why'd Ya Do It" which were played in dance clubs. This album deserves to be honoured. It was ground breaking and brought Marianne Faithfull back to recording on her terms. She is a great artist and this album has aged like fine wine.
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