1981 – Island
British songstress Marianne Faithful’s follow up album to 1979’s Broken English is a tragically pained pop collection of melodious dirges and soulful lamentations, but I’ve got to say that this release didn’t really plumb the depths of the emotional abyss in quite the way that I’m accustomed to from Faithful. I mean, it’s all well and weepy, but there’s less Shakespearian pathos and more soap-opera melodrama on Dangerous Acquaintances than I would have liked.
Kicking off with the forced sounding Sweetheart and Intrigue I just couldn’t seem to believe Faithful as she choked her way through the lines and I couldn’t help but feel that she was shying away somewhat from her bolder, more elegant elegies of earlier albums. I mean, where’s the biting hatred of Why D’Ya Do It? Where’s the resigned angst of The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan? The music too came across as more than just a little lacklustre with no real depth of feeling in the playing or composition. I mean, the whole record really just felt like someone trying desperately to wrench out my tears in manner so obvious that I was physically unable to cry.
I suppose, however, this record really isn’t bad. Tracks like Strangeness and Beauty’s Sake are sufficiently catchy with their urban blues guitar riffs and So Sad has its moments of inspired composition, but overall most of the music runs along the same soft pop-rock lines and doesn’t really stand out all that much. There’s just nothing on here that the listener can actually grab onto and appreciate in any real sense. It just plays all the way through and then stops without leaving any kind of mark on the consciousness, which I suppose is fine if you just want some music to do the housework to, but if you’re expecting real stimulation or intellectual gratification then this is probably not the album for you.
I think that’s the real problem here; there’s just nothing at all to this album. It’s just nine tracks of perfectly acceptable mediocrity and nothing more. This is, of course, just made all the more disappointing by my expectations of real hard-hitting substance from Marianne Faithful. It’s just not quite enough, to my mind, to try and pass off a truly touching vocal style as depth of feeling without the lyrics or music to back it all up. I guess, in the end I was just thoroughly disappointed with the whole experience of Dangerous Acquaintances.
Once again, however, I will say that at no point was the record actually bad. In fact it was perfectly acceptable the whole way through, but just never decided to break through into being exceptional. I mean, I can’t think of any time that Marianne Faithful has actually made a bad record, but with this one she has certainly hit average. Perhaps, at times, she lifts a bit and reaches the higher limits of average, but still you can’t deny the mediocrity of this album. It is for this reason that I really can’t bring myself to sing it any kind of praises even despite my persistent fondness for Faithful and her tear-jerking voice.
And here is So Sad, one of the higher achieving numbers from the record.
- Intrigue (ladygarfunkel.wordpress.com)
- Marianne Faithful “Guilt” (moonwina13.wordpress.com)
- Marianne Faithfull Foregoes Shows After Breaking Back (myq105.cbslocal.com)
- Friday Music Mention – Marianne Faithfull (talkinginbendigo.wordpress.com)
- Marianne Faithfull admits to hating sex (telegraph.co.uk)
- Marianne Faithfull says she hated sex in the 60s (upi.com)