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Review: Marianne Faithfull Delivers Another Late-Career Masterwork on ‘Negative Capability’

The veteran singer cuts through the darkness as only she can

marianne faithfull

Yann Orhan

Beginning with 1979’s acrimonious Broken English, Marianne Faithfull has spent the last four decades gracefully transitioning into the Grande Dame of Melancholy, the High Priestess of Dusky Rock, capable of bridging the chasm between Kurt Weill’s dramatic ballads and the gothy rock of artists like Nick Cave and PJ Harvey. Her deep, complex voice is cuts through the darkness with ease. Her latest, Negative Capability, continues her long string of late-career masterworks. She revisits her breakthrough hit, “As Tears Go By,” but the world-weariness of her voice gives it new depth, and she does the same with Broken English’s “Witches’ Song” but turns it into an almost uplifting folk song. Nick Cave wrote the music for her Midsummer Night’s Dream riff, “The Gypsy Faerie Queen,” and Mark Lanegan did the same for “They Come at Night,” a vehicle for her anger after the Bataclan attack. There are also moments of tenderness (“No Moon at Night”) and vulnerability (“Misunderstanding,” “In My Own Particular Way”) that make it one of her most compelling albums to date.

In This Article: Marianne Faithfull

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