After four years of musical silence, English renaissance woman Marianne Faithfull will bring her familiar, 40-a-day rasp back to America with her 22nd album Easy Come Easy Go. Despite enduring a tumultuous period since 2005's Before The Poison (including treatment for breast cancer and publicly admitting to having Hepatitis C for the first time), Faithfull has put her confessional streak to the side this time out and selected 18 cover songs and reinterpretations for the collection, which had already been released in Europe. The tracks include everything from old standards right up to contemporary songs such as Morrissey's "Dear God Please Help Me," Neko Case's "Hold On, Hold On" and even the Decemberists' "The Crane Wife 3."
"I didn't want to write this time — I needed a break," she explains to Rolling Stone from her Paris home. "I'd love to write stories about other people but it doesn't seem to be one of my strengths. I always end up writing myself and that gets boring! Writers have only got one or two subjects that they write about — if they're lucky. In my case it's love and loss but I wanted to get a different perspective this time. The songs I chose deal with the same sort of themes but they're not my words, I just tried to inhabit them."
The album was recorded with veteran producer Hal Wilner and features guest contributions from Faithfull's long list of musical admirers including Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Cat Power, Antony Hegarty and her old comrade Keith Richards. Despite initial production and planning beginning as far back as Christmas 2007, the actual recording took just 10 days. "There was a lot of discussion initially but talk is cheap and it was financial constraints that led to us doing it all so quickly. It was very, very live," she says. "We were recording so fast that Hal didn't have time to give me rough mixes at the end of a session so I could listen back and think of ways to make them better. I just had to hope they were all right, but it wasn't such a bad way to do it because when I finally heard the recordings I was very pleased. I think the quick recording helped to give the songs a sense of honesty."
Easy Come Easy Go is due March 17th on Decca and select U.S. live dates are expected to coincide with the release.