Marianne Faithfull returns with her 22nd album ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ on March 16th. This time around Faithful chooses to reinterpret the songs of others embellishing them with her own inimitable style. When you are taking on a project of this nature it’s all to easy to forget that half of the challenge comes in choosing the right material to cover from the outset.
In some cases it’s easy to imagine Marianne taking on some of the songs on offer here (for example she captures the melancholy of ‘Solitude’ originally by Billie Holiday) but in other places she delivers the odd surprise here and there. The first example being her version of ‘The Crane Wife’ (originally by The Decemberists) she retains the pacing and the subtle undercurrent of energy of the original and guest vocalist Nick Cave hangs in the background like a shadow.
Elsewhere there is a buoyant playfulness in songs like Bessie Smith’s ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ and it’s moments like this where you see the wisdom in her collaborations. It’s almost odd hearing the likes of Rufus Wainwright taking a supporting role on the epic ‘Children Of Stone’
As a vocalist it’s her lived in quality that often adds volumes to a track, her broken and wavering tones only add a sense of oppressive melancholy to songs like ‘How Many Worlds’ and the unsettling off kilter melodies of ‘In Germany Before The War’.
The second disc conjures up additional gems, Faithfull’s take on Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ‘Salvation’ has a real weight and power behind it. Almost as if she summons up her life experience and throws her shoulder behind the song to deliver with a surprising amount of force. Alas there are some moments where I cant help but think she might have bitten off more than she can chew. Her version of ‘Dear God Please Help Me’ originally by Morrissey is brave but pretty much misses the mark, and her collaboration with Jarvis Cocker on Sondheim’s ‘Somewhere’ put me in mind of a couple of drunks caterwauling in an alley at closing time (Cocker is on particularly asthmatic form).
Thankfully the misses are saved for the second disc and as a whole the collection is pretty strong. You have the option of the standard ten song CD or the luxury edition twin disc set which comes with a bonus DVD that covers the obligatory ‘making of’ aspects. Not strictly necessary but it is nice to get a look inside Manhattan’s oldest recording studios (Sear Sound).
Marianne will be performing a short tour throughout the capital cities of Europe to promote the collection. She will be making use of the same musicians from the album and also performing a selection of material from her own back catalogue.