sat 20/04/2024

Album: Paloma Faith - The Glorification of Sadness | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Paloma Faith - The Glorification of Sadness

Album: Paloma Faith - The Glorification of Sadness

Big emotions, big tunes with firehose intensity, but who is the person behind them?

Paloma Faith is pretty much the dictionary definition of “full-on”. Always in elaborate hairdos and outré ruffles, big of personality and big of voice, she enthuses and emotes with firehose intensity at any opportunity. So it comes as no surprise that her big breakup album doesn’t pull any punches. Like, really: this is a record which features at its most climactic point, a song called “Eat Shit and Die.”

That song – a big production number soul shoutalong which practically demands a Busby Berkley style visual with a cast of hundreds plus fireworks and fountains – is actually a bucketload of fun. Doubly so as it follows the album’s high point, the absolute monster of a soft rock anthem “Let it Ride” which combines all the epic hooks of Bon Jovi / Poison style Eighties hair metal with weapons-grade 21st century production. As a double whammy, it’s real throw-your-knickers-in-the-air, smash-everything-and-party funtimes stuff and really plays to Faith’s strengths.

There’s plenty more on the album that works in similar belligerent fashion too, whether it’s the thumping pop-house of “Cry on the Dance Floor” or the closing power ballad “Already Broken”. At its best the album will have you cheering Faith on, though also quite possibly fearing for her ex’s sanity after such a forceful declaration of independence.

However, it doesn’t quite hold together as an album – and we’re brought face to face with an issue that’s lingered before: it’s quite hard to pin down what “a Paloma Faith song” is as such. On these more memorable songs, she has a strong pop voice, but she also has a tendency to as she always has adopt an archaic blues twang – which, especially given her natural Hackney tones in the voiceover interludes here, never quite rings true. She presents herself in a very "this is the real me" way in the visuals, but who that person is in musical terms is not clear.

That 21st century production all too often irons out quirks, too. Given the calibre of collaborators here – rapper Kojey Radical, producers MJ Cole and Chase & Status – you’d hope for some dancefloor influence, but actually the rolling funk of “Enjoy Yourself” only serves to emphasise how “Radio 2” most of the rest of the record’s sonics are. The best songs here are some of Faith’s best work, but for all the intensity of emotion, you may find yourself feeling you’re getting that full-on performance for performance’s sake a lot of the time – and wondering what a genuinely personal Paloma Faith album, with all that dialled back quite a bit more and a quite a bit more more musical and lyrical exploration allowed to unfold, might be like.

It’s quite hard to pin down what “a Paloma Faith song” is, as such

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Comments

Why should there be “a Paloma Faith song”? I loved the album for its diversity and unexpectedness. 

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