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Broken English Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, June 1, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Classic 1979 album featuring 'Ballad Of Lucy Jordan' & 'Working Class Hero'

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Marianne Faithfull had been effectively written off as a one-hit wonder when she reappeared in 1979 to shock everyone with this dark masterpiece. Gone was the bland choirgirl voice of "As Tears Go By," replaced by an instrument that, although ravaged by drink, drugs, and hard living, had gained in expressiveness. The music, which sounded like a synthesizer phalanx hijacked by depressed punks, was perfectly suited to these songs of disillusionment ("Ballad of Lucy Jordan") and loss (the title track). Most powerful was a "Working Class Hero" that matched John Lennon's original sneer for sneer, and an X-rated response to infidelity ("Why D'Ya Do It") that could've been torn from Bill Clinton-inspired headlines. --Ben Edmonds
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 1, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B000001FSP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Although the boundaries have shifted in the decades since this album's release, Broken English has lost none of its trenchant appeal. And despite Courtney Love and many angry grrrl groups using explicit lyrics, Why d'Ya Do It? still sounds fresh, perhaps because it originally was written as a poem by Heathcote Williams. Her version of Lennon's Working Class Hero sounds as sharp as ever, while the brooding title track is still relevant today. On the melodic side, Lucy Jordan has become quite a standard and could easily be considered a country weepie, while Witches Song remains eerie and anthemic. The sound is typical 80's rock with tight musicianship supporting this classic monument to decadence and despair. This is probably her best selling album of all time for all the wrong reasons! The other two works from the same period, A Child's Adventure and Dangerous Acquaintances, are equally excellent and will richly reward the listener. Nevertheless, Broken English stands tall as a masterpiece of broken taboos, subversive poetics and timeless songs.
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Format: Audio CD
Even as she had hits in the '60s with "As Tears Go By" (written by her paramour Mick Jagger), Marianne Faithfull was primarily known as Jagger's girlfriend, and any sort of talent she may have possessed was not worth noting. But after she and Mick called it off, Faithfull began a slow recovery back into both her music and her life. Heroin addiction had sent Faithfull on a nightmarish journey that would be effectively captured on the Rolling Stones' classic "Sister Morphine". Marianne wouldn't get her chance to do good until 1979 with her highly-acclaimed comeback BROKEN ENGLISH. She had recorded a few albums before this, but they were tentative efforts before BROKEN ENGLISH effectively announced her return. Those who listened were in for a surprise, especially those who first heard her as the virginal voice of "As Tears Go By". Years of drug addiction had caused 33-year old Faithfull's voice to lower to a much more raspy, war-weary groan, but only that voice could have sung the material on BROKEN ENGLISH. "Guilt", Shel Silverstein's "The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan" and "Witches' Song" all find Marianne creating true-to-life personas that all hit home even more with her scarred, yet still resonant voice. I'm always on the verge of sadness every time I hear those songs. Others like the title track, "Brain Drain" and "What's The Hurry?" are somewhat lighter, but not too much. Maybe it's the state-of-the-art new-wave production that the album actually benefits from and not dates it all. If the bulk of BROKEN ENGLISH finds Faithfull as a vulnerable waif, the last two songs display her as a woman quite angry with her past. Her cover of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" has her dismissing her early musical career and her decadence as much as Lennon used it to break away from the Beatles.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had forgotten all about this album until recently when a leading US business magazine recommended Marianne Faithfull's newest CD, Before the Poison, as a worthwhile listen. When I ordered that, I ordered Broken English as well.

The first time I heard Broken English years ago I liked it, but had in the back of my mind the idea it might be the last gasp of a wallowed-out, washed-up one hit wonder who is but one musical footnote to the many musical footnotes to the sixties. But now that Faithfull is back with an acclaimed release, her back catalogue deserves another listen.

One run through this CD, and you will hear that Marianne Faithfull is indeed a woman with attitude, the PJ Harvey of her generation. While not every song on Broken English is anywhere near a masterpiece, it is a CD that is sure to grow on you. My favorites are the title cut, The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, a sneering, mocking rendition of John Lennon's sardonic Working Class Hero, and the album's tour-de-force, Why D'Ya Do It? That last song is a woman's graphic expression of anger at being cheated on. Faithfull's snarling delivery makes me glad I'm not her target.

Forget about her version of the Stone's hit As Tears Go By. Listen to this, Faithfull will surprise you. And if you like your favorite female singers earthy and gritty, you are bound to like this. Check it out!
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Format: Audio CD
A radical departure for Marianne Faithful when it was released, the deluxe edition of "Broken English" includes the original album, a different sounding original mix that was previously unreleased along with a short film made by the late Derek Jarmen. The film can be viewed in enhanced CD mode.

The previously unreleased original mix of the album features some tracks that are longer than the released version of the album. All of these tracks are sequenced exactly the same as the original album but are on the second disc. We also get Marianne's re-recording of "Sister Morphine" supplemented by the 7 inch edit and remix of "Broken English" as well as a long version of the same song (running 5:47) and a remix of "Why'd Do It".

The spoken word track "The Letter" (not to be confused with the song by The Box Tops and Joe Cocker) is NOT included as it was recorded after the release of the album.

The 24 page booklet includes photos of various single sleeves and alternate covers for the album from various countries.

The remastering by Jared Hawkes is pretty good. It isn't quite as dynamic as the original CD release but it is far from the brick walled mess of many remasters/reissues. The new transfer also presents more detail than evident on the original CD issue probably due to better analog to digital converters.

The only way I can think of to have improved this set would have been to put the short movie on a region free DVD and a vintage live recording of the material. This is a very nice set and if you are a fan of the album it is well picking up.
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