Picks and Pans Review: A Child's Adventure
Recalling her grim and glitzy ’60s days as Mick Jagger’s honky-tonk woman, Marianne once described herself as being like a butterfly on a pin whom Jagger watched “flail and writhe.” Now she has become an observer of her own life, which over the years has included attempted suicide, drug addiction, failed marriages and poverty. This album, the second she has cut since her surprise comeback in 1979 with Broken English, is another dose of musical barbiturate, depressing but powerful. In She’s Got a Problem, for example, she cries: “In the end will I smash my brains with drinking/Till I fall down on the floor/Will I hiccup and jabber…” Faithfull co-wrote six of the LP’s eight tracks, and the only nonpersonal song is a tune called Ireland that is full of Celtic sadness, with the refrain “When will you be free?” While her voice began to disintegrate from severe misuse long ago, Faithfull’s scratchy soprano is in a lot of ways the perfect instrument to spill out these songs, with their pretty, flowery melodies and searing, acidic lyrics. She has learned how to turn anguish into art.