There is a wide range of innovation and praise that can be liberally applied to music from artists of immense respect. Not everything they create may be highly praised, nor can much of it be outright ignored and rejected. It’s dependent on how the music relates to you. What works for me musically and lyrically will play quite well for a period of time in my life. This is how I approach artists like Marianne Faithfull. In the past, she has created stunning masterworks like her Broken English (1979) album. Since then, she has released eight personal works (not including live, covers, and project material). All have their inherent strengths but not all approach the power of Broken English.
On her new release, Negative Capability, Marianne Faithfull has provided a new album of quality and introspection. She still has yet to approach the power of her 1979 classic, but with any subsequent album she has created, she is still looking at her life in noble ways.
Negative Capability is a beautiful album that will absolutely not be for everyone. But in it she possesses an ability that few have at her age, a power to evaluate, to dream, and to talk about those things in a song. Ms Faithfull is quite confident in her craft and in Negative Capability, it shows admirably.
Of the eleven songs in this new album, all hit a place in the soul of the listener who can calm and pay close attention. As we age, we become more acutely aware of what has passed before us, and whether or not we reacted properly for any of it. Her re-recordings of Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, her pop hit, “As Tears Go by”, here sung with Nick Cave, adding a measure of sadness to the cover, and the stripped down and folky “Witches’ Song” from the previously mentioned Broken English period where she gave the song a much different feeling, all fit within her new space. But it’s her newest music that reviews this point in her life the best.
Negative Capability is another grand chapter from Marianne Faithfull that I’m very happy to have to enjoy. And while I can’t assume that it will have the same overpowering effect on you, I can recommend it to the listener that’s willing to pay close attention.