Marianne Faithfull

Since 1979's harrowing Broken English, the latter phase of Marianne Faithfull's recording career has been marked by a coarse, confessional approach. But her first new effort in three years is a somewhat easier pill to swallow. With contributions from Nick Cave, composer/arranger Hal Wilner, Blur's Damon Albarn, and PJ Harvey, she offers haunting, brooding, but mostly melodic tributes to friends ("My Friends Have"), family ("No Child of Mine"), and lovers past and present (practically everything else). Despite the subdued arrangements, which mainly consist of acoustic guitar and keyboards, this compelling effort ranks among Faithfull's finest.

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