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Before the Poison

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 25, 2005
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Faithfull's return with 'Before The Poison' comes with an expectation she has seldom seen before, obviously helped by the inclusion of songs written by PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Damon Albarn. As three of the best songwriters working today Harvey, Cave and Albarn bring a level of credibility to the record that shifts the interest beyond reputation and history towards a more musical level. Thankfully, the songs are as strong as anything they have written before, not least the brilliant Harvey penned 'No Child Of Mine' and Cave's 'Crazy Love'.

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From her beginnings as a pop chanteuse in 1964, through a little-heard set of country rock, on to the edgy bearing of her second commercial breakthrough with Broken English in 1979, and then into the world of Kurt Weill and elsewhere, Marianne Faithfull appears to have taken wildly varied twists and turns. In fact, her ongoing musical projects move with one another with breathtaking artistry. Before The Poison is yet another peak, as she collaborates with PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, and, Jon Brion. From the ethereal balladry of "There is a Ghost" (with Cave and the Bad Seeds), to the meaty guitar punches of Harvey's "My Friends Have," this album is a diverse set that's all tied together by the smoky resonance and phrasing of Faithfull's unmistakable voice. --David Greenberger
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anti
  • ASIN: B0006Z3DDA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,466 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Juan Mobili on March 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have to say that my respect for Marianne Faithfull has been greater for her character and the bare honesty with which she's lived her life, than due to my love for most of her recordings of the last fifteen years.
Of course, this has changed dramatically with the release of Before The Poison. This album reveals Faithfull's talent and depth of emotion more than anything in a long time, perhaps harking back as far as Broken English.
It is, actually, an interesting paradox, that she can sound so authentically herself although most of the great songs in this CD have been written by other people, and in some cases -No Child Of Mine and Last Song- recorded by their authors before this album was even planned.
Whereas Kissin' Time, her album prior to this, also counted on a host of great writers -Beck, Jarvis Cocker and Billy Corgan- this one takes the promise of those collaborations to a higher, more intense level.
Eight of the ten songs included here are written or co-written by Nick Cave or PJ Harvey, and the chemistry between them and Ms. Faithfull is stunning.
Harvey's The Mystery Of Love and In The Factory could have been included in Uh Huh Her, yet sung by Marianne they were worth saving for this record. In them you'll find the same fierce vulnerability that Harvey's latest exuded. Of course, Child Of Mine -which was included in Uh Huh Her- deserves the same praise, as Faithfull's weathered and wise voice carves new truths out of it.
No less impressive is Cave's work. There Is A Ghost and Crazy Love must be counted among Cave's most accomplished ballads, as touching and solemnly vulnerable as the best of Boatman's Call.
Last but not least, her version of Damon Albarn's Last Song is equally impressive.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm admittedly a huge Marianne Faithfull fan. Nonetheless some of her stuff is way better than others. In this scope of fair disclosure, it's quite a pleasure to highly recommend her new CD.

This is one of the most honest CDs ever recorded. Most of it, co-written with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, illustrate they certainly understand Ms. Faithfull's unique vocal texture, colorful musical pedigree, and general perspective on life. Production is appropriately sparse and allows her voice to occupy center stage.

The sound is some blend of very late-night blues with cabaret/broadway. What we get for investing a listen is genuine, never cheesy, mature outlooks on love, complete with all its mysteries, uncertainties, and hopes.

The range of songs is spectacular. I'm knocked out with "My Friends Have" and "Desperanto," which couldn't be more polar tunes. "Crazy Love" and "The Mystery of Love" are also standouts.

I'll be listening to this CD repeatedly for a long, long time. And what more could I ever ask an artist to do?
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Marianne's recent knack for finding sympathetic co-conspirators continues. This brooding album showcases contributions by singer-songwriters P.J. Harvey and Nick Cave, and the collaboration is dark even in its quieter moments. Unlike the pop setting of her 2002 album "Kissin' Time" which featured Beck and Dave Stewart, there's not a remake of "I'm into Something Good" on this disk. Even the song titles here ("No Child of Mine," "Crazy Love," "Before the Poison") sketch the risky and uncertain facets of human nature. What makes these songs resonate is Marianne's beautiful ruin of a voice, and when she closes the set with the delicate music-box ballad "City of Quartz" there's still no relief from the tension of her jagged lyric and sandpaper-tough delivery. Age and excess may have robbed Marianne of some of her vocal gifts but songwriting remains her stronger suit. Highly recommended.
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This is the amazing CD that Ms Marianne Faithfull put out in 2003 in collaboration with PJ Harvey, and on some songs Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds! What's not to love about that!! And even better... the collaborators bring in the goods!!! It's not a disappointment - it actually really really rocks!!!! Oh yeah!!!!! PJ Harvey wrote four songs on the album (and co-wrote one more with Faithfull), while Nick Cave wrote one and co-wrote two with Faithfull. Filling out the album, there's one song by Damon Albarn, and one more song by Jon Brion. The Bad Seeds back up Faithfull on the three songs that Cave wrote or co-wrote.

The first song "The Mystery Of Love" is a pretty little song that is more in the usual Marianne Faithfull vein, but the second one, "My Friends Have", could have been a PJ Harvey rocker. Very nice indeed - short, sweet, rocking, and you get that unmistakable PJ Harvey background vocal effect too; both of these songs were written by PJ herself. "Crazy Love" has music by Nick Cave and lyrics by Faithfull, it's a nice storytelling piano-driven tune with gorgeous fiddle in the middle. "Last Song", written by Damon Alborn, is a beautiful guitar tune, and you really get Marianne's gorgeous voice full on, with spooky piano kicking in mid-way. Not sure the orchestration was really necessary, though... "No Child Of Mine" is a cool little guitar and piano tune, very spooky, but it quickly gets quite dramatic, with plenty of percussion. "Before The Poison" is largely a guitar song, with some percussion, and very melancholic. It also rocks!! "There is a Ghost" is a fantastic Nick Cave track that sounds like an outtake from "And No More Shall We Part", probably his best album, so this is a very nice "forgotten" find for Bad Seeds fans.
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