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Marianne Faithfull is--after 38 years in music--still more famous for whom she had sex with in the 1960s than for her talents as singer and lyricist. Her 11th album, Kissin' Time, uses her wise and angry knowledge of this unjust state of affairs, and comes up smelling not of roses, but stale perfume, spilt gin and sex. The result is her best-ever album. Comprising collaborations with the likes of Beck, Blur, Pulp, The Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan and The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, Kissin' Time takes in everything from spiky electro-pop (Beck's superb "Sex with Strangers") to Tom Waits-lite (Blur's rather self-conscious title track), by way of "Song for Nico"'s no-punches-pulled ballad tribute to the late Velvet Underground chanteuse, and the magnificent "Sliding Through Life on Charm", where Pulp's rousing anthemics provide the perfect backdrop for Ms Faithfull's hilariously filthy autobiographical defiance. Faithfull's cracked cabaret growl and painfully personal lyrics remain an acquired taste. But, if you can deal with a middle-aged woman's sexual and emotional honesty, and the album's deliberately eclectic tunes and textures, then Kissin' Time is a classic of bold, bitter and elegantly profane pop art. --Garry MulhollandSee all Product description
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Electric rock music was quite unlike anything she had ever done before, and although I doubt that 'Kissin Time' will never be considered her finest hour (and if I'm honest, I personally don't think that it deserves to be), this is Marianne Faithfull we're talking about, and the woman just doesn't make bad records. This one is worthy of four stars for it's variety and 'funness' alone. It's probably the 'coolest', and easily assessable thing she's ever done as a whole.
I adore Damon Albarn, and the idea of my favourite band Blur and favourite female singer working together on a track was a dream, the result, 'Kissin Time' is a very 'Damon' song, and although their two unique voices blending together is a perfect combination, it isn't the best track. 'Like Being Born', featuring Beck and Jon Brion, is just the type of beautiful, story-telling tune she would have sang in her folky 1960s heyday. Marianne's cool cover of 'Something Good', a hit for pop group Herman's Hermits in 1964, is a lovely slice of adult pop music, and is included here as a bonus track. Another highpoint is 'I'm On Fire', a wonderful, laid-back pop song with a 1980s vibe which was written by The Smashing Pumpkins' lead singer Billy Corrigan, who contributes on the backing vocals. 'Love & Money' is a very catchy tune, and is followed by the dramatic 'Nobody's Fault'.
I have to also single out the very autobiographical 'Sliding Through Life On Charm' which she wrote with Joe Cocker, and is loaded with irony, and some wonderfully amusing obscenities, reminiscent of 'Why'd Ya Do It', a highlight on her landmark 1979 'comeback' album Broken English, and also has a reference to her later song 'Falling From Grace'. I really like it.
Now, I should say that the single 'Sex With Strangers' is edgy and 'hip', but with it's annoying beat and repetitive lyrics, it starts to grate after, oh, the first listening. This is one of the few songs of Marianne's, which she co-wrote with Beck, that I really dislike, but I do adore the track's wonderful music video, which starred model Kate Moss, and has priceless cameo from Blur's bassist, and her close friend Alex James dressed in drag at the beginning. Now that is well worth seeing!
This really did deserve to bring Marianne back to the thick of things in Britain, but, as she had been absent from the charts in her own country for so long, it bombed, though it did briefly make the top 40 in France and Belgium. As a relative newcomer to her work, I am amazed at the talent and sheer versatility of Marianne Faithfull. Since discovering her work aside from the famous '60s pop songs and 1979's Broken English album that I was already familiar with, I have never looked back. Her entire back catalogue is worth investigating, and so is 'Kissin' Time'.
My main problem with it though is that it is too introspective, in my opinion. The Jarvis Cocker co-write "...Charm" is pretty much the only even vaguely upbeat track on the album, the rest of the songs are all ballady. Not that I've got anything against a good ballad, mind you, but in my generalising opinion the best albums are a balance of the up and the down. And this is too down. A matter of taste, of course, but something to bear in mind if you're buying this because you're a fan of Blur, Pulp, etc., whose albums are much more balanced in that way than this one is.
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