At 67 years old, Marianne Faithfull’s career has spanned over five decades. Beginning in the 1960s, the English singer-songwriter has produced music infused with passion, but somewhat overshadowed by her tumultuous personal life. She is, however, in fine form over 40 years following her drug problems, as shown by the release of Faithfull’s 20th album.
“Give My Love To London” is a largely collaborative album. Faithfull invited several musicians to join her in the recording studio, including Nick Cave, Ed Harcourt, Steve Earle, Anna Calvi, and many others. The songwriting process for this LP seemed to once again be mainly a team effort, though most of the lyrics come from Faithfull herself.
Though the album is an impressive feat for Faithfull after such a long career, it is not necessarily remarkable by itself. The entire track list is not fantastic, with only a few powerful songs that really stand out. “Going Home,” written with the help of Leonard Cohen, is immensely captivating, laced with almost spoken words in Faithfull’s cracked, raspy voice.
The particular genre of the album is hard to identify; at times, the songs are upbeat, load rockers where we can hardly here Faithfull’s vocals. Others are soft, calm acoustic songs like, “Love More Or Less.” Some echoing piano, and a few banjos here and there, make the focus of the album questionable and a bit confusing.
Faithfull’s 50th anniversary of her recording career presents a good comeback that shows where she’s been in the past, though it clearly emulates the messy and rocky road she followed to get where she is today. It is not particularly polished, but it is a welcome contribution from the legendary singer-songwriter.
Grade: B MINUS