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c westwood (London)

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A Secret Life
A Secret Life
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £4.84

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully individual collaboration, 18 May 2004
This review is from: A Secret Life (Audio CD)
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.


A Perfect Stranger: The Island Anthology
A Perfect Stranger: The Island Anthology
Offered by musicMagpie
Price: £7.71

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True Greatest Hits of Marianne Faithfull, 18 May 2004
Many apparent Greatest Hits of Marianne Faithfull merely cover her very early work, which though of interest, is nothing compared to her records including and following Broken English. Her voice, like late, late Billie Holliday, exposes the painand beauty of experience, taking the songs to a different and superior place. Some of the 80s tracks seem lacking in energy, but overall it's a well thought out introduction to her work of this period. A shame the relationship with Island didn't continue, as songs from her subsequent (and fine) albums would have worked well here.


Broken English
Broken English
Price: £7.07

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.


The Frederica Quartet
The Frederica Quartet
by A. S. Byatt
Edition: Paperback

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 crackers make it worth 5 stars, 18 May 2004
This review is from: The Frederica Quartet (Paperback)
I've written reviews of each of the books within this quartet, but felt I should add a note here. Though Whistling Woman is a disappointing conclusion, a positive way of interpreting this is by seeing that the first three novels build up the expectation - they overflow with ideas, wonderful round characterisation, and fascinating, absorbing plots. 4.5 stars would be right, half a star off for the tail off in the last book, but as is I think it deserves 5.


Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Deadly Sins
Offered by WORLD WIDE MEDIA MARKET
Price: £49.34

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired recording of this impressive work, 23 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Seven Deadly Sins (Audio CD)
The casting of Marianne Faithfull in the role of Ana was inspired - though having to drop the role by an octave or two, she brings a wonderful, theatrical bent to the performance of the heroine.
The narrative of the Seven Deadly Sins (as is usual with this genre) holds the litener at a distance. You are not encouraged to engage with, or build a 3D impression of, the characters. This conceit allows it to play with structure and formality.
The extra additional songs are also wonderful - this is a fantastic CD for fans of Brecht/Weill and Marianne Faithfull alike.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 20, 2017 10:43 AM BST


A Whistling Woman
A Whistling Woman
by A. S. Byatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Finish it feeling a little short-changed?, 16 Dec. 2003
This review is from: A Whistling Woman (Paperback)
Having loved the first three novels in this series, especially Babel Tower, i was delighted to hear that the fourth was finally arriving. Unfortunately something went wrong in the mix this time ... it is another ambitious novel in the same style as the previous three, and indeed like all of Byatt's novels. But where the erudition stood firmly by the side of the great plot and confident narrative, this time the prose is heavy and lacking in energy. Byatt usually taxes and rewards in equal measures, but I finished reading this novel (as I did The Biographer's Tale) feeling rather short-changed Byatt is a writer who takes chances, so I am hoping this is merely a failed experiment - though it is a shame to end such a successful set of novels on a low note.


Babel Tower
Babel Tower
by A. S. Byatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of the series of four, 16 Dec. 2003
This review is from: Babel Tower (Paperback)
The third of the Frederica Potter series of novels is by far the best. Fiendishly ambitious, knotted, segmented, difficult and demanding, only a writer of such skill could have pulled the strands of this book together. It has precise historical placing and context, a wonderful plot. It is erudite, and has a narrative style that taxes and rewards. A truly wonderful novel.


The Virgin In The Garden
The Virgin In The Garden
by A. S. Byatt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful start to the Frederica Potter quartet of novels., 16 Dec. 2003
I once heard someone say that this book should have been called "Virgin on the Ridiculous" ... I have to say I don't agree! A wonderful, ambitious novel, which brings the author to the level of a George Eliot - precise historical placing and context, wonderfully plotted, erudite, and with a narrative style that taxes and rewards. A wonderful start to this quartet of novels.


The Sensual World
The Sensual World

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album of outstanding beauty and tenderness ..., 16 Dec. 2003
This review is from: The Sensual World (Audio CD)
With The Sensual World, Bush turned her songwriting gaze inside. With her earlier albums the songs were mostly external, strong narratives, some with political bents, some literary. With this album even the songs which use literature (the title track, based on the end of Ulysses) or historical (Heads We're Dancing, based on a story of someone who unknowingly met and liked Oppenheimer) do so to consider the emotional reaction of the subject. Twinned with this is a softening of the music, with a strong strand of Celtic influence. The use of the Trio Bulgarka singers is inspired, daring, and perfect.
The closest comparison to draw for this album would be Bjork's Vespertine - the sound of a woman of immense energy and creativity stopping to take stock, and look inside herself for inspiration.


The Dreaming
The Dreaming

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the most creative album ever ..., 16 Dec. 2003
This review is from: The Dreaming (Audio CD)
... and an absolute favourite of mine. Kate's "I've gone mad album" must have sounded like nothing before when released - the 21st century ear is more accepting but the album hasn't lost any of its freshness. 10 years of listening to this still yields new sounds and vocals buried deep in the mix. Absolutely spellbinding.


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