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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 67 - 03/28/02

Marianne Faithfull
Kissin Time
Virgin Records

Marianne Faithfull - once the leading lady of sex & drugs & rock'n'roll - and one of the very few out there who survived, certainly the only one who survived with such dignity. Let's not dwell on that subject. You'd better check out small parts of the story yourselves in "Sliding Through Life On Charm", one of the better songs of Kissin Time. The life she's led has given her a unique deep and hoarse voice, very personal. And when she quit the drugs business, she started recording highly recommendable albums. Strange Weather, Blazing Away and 20th Century Blues to name but a few.

She still attracts young male musicians. On Kissin Time she's received several helping hands from Beck, Blur, Billy 'Pumpkin-head' Corgan, Jarvis Cocker and the rest of Pulp, (former Eurythmic) Dave Stewart and more. They've written most of the songs along with her, but very seldom dominate the recordings. That's for Marianne to do. I think a few songs tend to be too modern or hip to suit her voice. Especially the opening track "Sex With Strangers" with Beck has many annoying techno keyboard noises that drowns the melody. "Like Being Born" (also with Beck) on the other hand has several old fashioned instruments, a groovy double bass in particular. It's a lot closer to Marianne's Brecht, Weill and Eisler interpretations a few years back and allows her to sing the way a chanteuse past her first youth is supposed to sing. My ultimate favourite along with the aforementioned "Sliding Through Life On Charm". But we're in for more. Her homage in "Song For Nico" is one of them; simple and moving. The other blonde femme fatale of the 60s who led a similar lifestyle, but had to give in in 1988 after getting rid of her heroine ghosts... "Nobody's Fault" is another sad song with a very sore blues guitar. "Love And Money" is a snappy pop song with shadows back to the 60s whereas the Blurred title track is the experimental alibi of the album that needs a lot of playing before it unfolds.

All in all I don't think Kissin Time is Marianne's greatest album of late. It points in too many different directions to work as an entirety. But the best songs are great; well worth checking out whether you're interested in her or the other participants' music - or just go for classical high quality pop songs.

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You may also want to check out our Marianne Faithfull article/review: Give My Love to London.

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