Virgin Records – 2002 – 44 minutes
Although by rights she should be long forgotten, if not dead from her many excesses, 60s survivor Marianne Faithfull – the patron saint of rock chicks everywhere – is back with a new album. 'Kissin' Time' sees Faithfull wrap her cigarettes-and-alcohol-soaked voice around lyrics written with some of the main progenitors of 90s Britpop – Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Blur – as well as US imports Billy Corgan and Beck – to varying degrees of success.
'Sex with Strangers' has Faithfull gravely intoning "It's time/for sex/with strangers/Maybe sex with someone else" over cold electro-pop, courtesy of Beck who also contributes to one of the sweetest tracks on the album, the wistful 'Like Being Born'. The album's undoubted highlight, however, is the song that Jarvis Cocker wrote from Faithfull's title 'Sliding Through Life on Charm'. Think Pulp's 'Disco 2000' crossed with Faithfull's drug-addled and sex-soaked biography and you'll get a flavour of what this track is like.
The flip side is her collaboration with former Eurythmic Dave Stewart on 'Song for Nico', a lame tribute to a fellow femme fatale and junkie who trod a similar path but didn't survive. But there are consolations in Blur's efforts on the measured title track, her slightly country take on Beck's 'Nobody's Fault ' and love songs 'Wherever I Go' and 'I'm On Fire'.
Self-described as a 'Fabulous Beast', Marianne Faithfull is hard not to admire – for her honesty, longevity and astute choice of working partners – but difficult to love. Three stars for fabulousness...
Tracklisting: Sex with Strangers - The Pleasure Song - Like Being Born - I'm On Fire - Wherever I Go - Song for Nico - Sliding Through Life on Charm - Love & Money - Nobody's Fault - Kissin' Time