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Marianne's last album of the nineties, and it was a masterpiece
on 1 March 2015
I honestly can't understand how Marianne Faithfull, with her iconic status can allude chart success in Britain time and time again. Perhaps it's because people in her homeland still associate her with her 'past' and problems, and maybe that has in some way overshadowed her expectational talents, but oh I hope not. This straight-forward rock album, her last release of the nineties didn't given grace the top 75, but 'Vagabond Ways' is a masterpiece, and would serve a newbie well, as an introduction to her music. Every song, each of which flows beautifully together, one after the other, is a gem, and all of them are wrapped up in the most lush production.
Released in 1999, this melancholic and addictive record has many moments which must be semi-autobiographical to Marianne, and the overall tone of it all is very dark, which is a mood that she has always done so very well. The songs, five of which she co-wrote herself, are mostly very interesting, delivered in that incredibly emotional, cracked, and expressive voice of hers.
Some of the tunes on here are reminiscent of those on her first real masterpiece 'Broken English', which she has been rarely able to better despite the stacks of great albums that have followed, like the stunning title track, 'File It Under Fun From The Past', 'Marathon Kiss' (which has Emmylou Harris on backup), and 'Incarceration of a Flower Child', a song written with by Pink Floyd's Roger Waters that tells the story of a poignant morning after.
Speaking of good song writing, Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote the yearning 'For Wanting You', and Marianne delivers a superb rendition of the darkly humorous, Leonard Cohen penned 'Tower of Song'. The track here which I play the most out of the ten is 'Great Expectations', a simple song, but really quite beautiful and dreamlike. Marianne has said that it's "the story of my life", but it really is one that I can relate to very strongly myself.
It still troubles me that the likes of young Britney Spears were storming the UK charts at the time, whereas this legend was being largely ignored, still enough know Marianne Faithfull's chart days in Britain were well behind her, she was still making amazing, critically-acclaimed rock music that would put the cheesy 'pop singers' to shame. She obviously had much more life experience, and boy does it shows in the music and world weary voice.
All that's left to say is thank you Marianne for being so open about your past, and turning heartbreak into singing/song writing success. Buy 'Vagabond Ways' today readers, you won't regret it.