Album: Marianne Faithfull

Kissin Time, Hut
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The Independent Culture

With Kissin Time, Marianne Faithfull attempts the sort of guest-laden career revival effected by Carlos Santana with Supernatural. In her case, this entails the grande dame of rock'n'roll debauchery bestowing her louche charm on a few of pop's smarter boys, with the likes of Beck, Blur, Pulp and Billy Corgan adapting their distinctive styles to her world-weary tones. Jarvis Cocker is the most successful collaborator, musing on the appeal of Marianne's life of dissipation in "Sliding through Life on Charm". "If Marianne was born a man," he has her sing, "she'd show you all a way to piss your life against the wall." But, sharp though the lyric is, the tune fails to nail the song as firmly as it might. At least the arrangement accords with the performer, though, which neither Billy Corgan's clumpy epic-rock production on "I'm on Fire" nor the etiolated techno burblings of Etienne Daho and Beck on "Pleasure Song" and "Sex with Strangers" manages. Corgan's "Wherever I Go" is more simpatico, while Beck's two other collaborations, "Like Being Born" and "Nobody's Fault", profit from the contributions of Jon Brion on celeste and Chamberlin. Equally apt is Dave Stewart's guitar, which brings an elegiac, European mood to "Song for Nico", a sisterly assessment peppered with Sixties names and, in one actor's case, a cursory C-word dismissal. The expletives and the mood of demi-monde disdain mark the album out as indelibly Faithfull, but there's a hint of desperation in some of the collaborations that does her few favours.