Yesterday I received the pre-ordered new album from Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis): "She walks in beauty".
First of all I had to break away from believing that I can listen to a typical MF-music album. The new album is spoken poetry underlaid with music. That's not a bad thing at first. But let's have a look on these 3 components (speech, poetry, music):
speech/spoken: The marvellous Marianne Faithfull! As a big fan, I really like her special voice, wether she is singing or speaking. As a example I absolutely adore „After the ceasefire“ from her 1999 masterpiece „Vagabond Ways“. Very atmospheric, very nice story. MF really had a powerful and expressive voice, absolutely suitable for demanding literature and poetry, but also for rock, pop and chanson. So nothing to complain about at first.
However, the new album consists only of spoken parts, probably because MF just can't sing anymore (because of several health reasons). Her voice almost consistently sounds powerless and breathless, and the lyrics are sometimes spoken very droning und read down. As a great stage interpreter, e.g. also of Brecht's texts, she would certainly have spoken the poems far more expressively at other times.
poetry: Setting old texts and poems to music is a tradition. But I find it difficult to get access to these old English texts and I cannot say whether it would be easier for me in German. I know "The Lady of Shalott" in the version of the gifted Loreena McKennitt, who merges with this text in a very inimitable way with singing, interpretation and music. Unfortunately, MF can't do that here, I'm so sorry.
Music: OMG, I can't stand this banter and jingling! This is worse than elevator music! This music is... absolutely nothing! Very uninspired soundscapes, which for me do not convey anything at all and sound the same in every track. Boring. Unworthy. Disappointing.
But: I ordered the deluxe edition which comes in a beautiful booklet with poems and paintings. Since I haven't bought a CD for so long, I held the album very reverently in my hands and was reminded of the old days when CDs were also art. A nice moment.
I'm going to add this album to my MF collection now - and it will just stay there.
I would have wished for a good album (her last album from 2018 was great for example!), but unfortunately it didn't turn out to be for me.
Marianne - I love you anyway!