Singer Marianne Faithfull was born on December 29, 1946 in London and began a singing career in 1964, when she was dating Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger. Scoring a hit with the Stones-penned song "As Tears Go By" (later performed by the Stones themselves), Faithfull began a successful career as a singer, performing orchestral pop tunes like "Summer Night," "Come Stay With Me" and "This Little Bird." By the end of the decade she was co-writing some of her songs and venturing into darker territory with songs like "Sister Morphine."
After breaking up with Jagger in the early 1970s, Faithfull spent some time away from the music scene, returning to recording toward the end of the decade with 1977's Dreaming My Dreams (aka Faithless). In 1979 Faithfull launched an unprecedented comeback with Broken English, which recast her as an edgy, world-weary songstress, a radical departure from her pop albums of the '60s. Though she continued to perform many covers, Faithfull began drawing upon her personal troubles of the 1970s to create streetwise originals, and over the next few albums Faithfull experimented with her sound, journeying from new wave to harder rock to blues and jazz. Her 1987 release, Strange Weather, won her nearly as much acclaim as Broken English, demonstrating that despite her decades-long career, Faithfull was more willing to take risks than many younger acts.
Ask most people what Marianne Faithfull is famous for and you'll get a bewildering variety of answers. Actress? Singer? Groupie? Well, no. She's famous for having sex with famous people.
It is this tantalising premise that Kissin' Time is based around. Clearly, Ms Faithfull is annoyed at the perception of not being recognised for her own work as much as for her well-documented romantic liaisons. Kissin' Time, happily, goes a long way to putting that right.
For this album she's got some celebrity mates to help her out. Sex With Strangers lays down the lyrical gauntlet at the very start of the album and features a lo-fi funk fest of disco keyboards, groovy beats and atmospheric synth sounds courtesy of Beck Hansen. The vocals remind one of Serge Gainsbourg, a certain cabaret quality mixing with an obviously mature voice which could not belong to any waif-like pop poppet.
Already we're aware that Ms Faithfull isn't scared to talk about being a middle-aged woman and about her past. It is that past that gives her depth and marks her out from the shallow squeals of assorted divas about her. Here is a real woman with real experiences to talk about. That she chooses a medium that can only be described as pop art - in the Andy Warhol sense - is all the better for us listeners.
Etienne Daho is on hand to provide a suitably seedy electronic backdrop to The Pleasure Song as Ms Faithfull groans and moans about how much pleasure and love she's got to give. It's warped, but it's damned catchy. Beck is back again for Like Being Born, a Joni Mitchell-style guitar led folk-rock whim of a song. Fans of Fairport Convention should be well satisfied with this one.
Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins pops up for a fucked-up psychadelic duet of sorts on I'm On Fire. It doesn't work as well as it should, for Ms Faithfull's instantly recognisable vocals sound out of place in the rich textured soundscape. Corgan's second contribution follows and Wherever I Go gels the two a little better.
Eurythmics' Dave Stewart is the collaborator for Song For Nico, one of the stand-out tracks of the album. It isn't anything like as inventive as most of the collaborations on this record, but features unsettling chord changes and plods forth at a rate that perfectly suits Ms Faithfull's voice.
Another of the stand-out tracks immediately follows. Sliding Through Life On Charm features the same starting chord sequence as Pulp's Have You Seen Her Lately? and mutates into something like Common People. As it is essentially a Pulp song, with all but Candida Doyle from the band pl