Broken English – Marianne Faithfull (1979)


Broken English is the seventh studio album by English singer Marianne Faithfull. It was released on 2 November 1979 by Island Records. The album marked a major comeback for Faithfull after years of drug abuse, homelessness, and suffering from anorexia. It is often regarded as her ‘definitive recording’ and Faithfull herself described it as her ‘masterpiece’. Broken English was Faithfull’s first major release since her album Love in a Mist (1967). After ending her relationship with Mick Jagger in 1970 and losing custody of her son, Faithfull’s career went into a tailspin as she suffered from heroin addiction and lived on the streets of London. Severe laryngitis, coupled with persistent drug abuse during this period, permanently altered Faithfull’s voice, leaving it cracked and lower in pitch. She attempted to make a comeback in 1976 with the release of Dreamin’ My Dreams, which noted only a small success. Shortly afterwards, Faithfull began working with musician Barry Reynolds who initially produced the songs ‘Broken English’ and ‘Why D’Ya Do It?’. The demos attracted the attention of Chris Blackwell who signed Faithfull to his record label Island Records. The album was recorded at Matrix Studios in London. Faithfull collaborated with producer Mark Miller Mundy with whom she recorded all songs for the album. After having the whole album recorded, he suggested that the music should be ‘more modern and electronic’ and brought in Steve Winwood on keyboards. Musically, Broken English is a new wave rock album with elements of other genres, such as punk, blues and reggae. … Faithfull notoriously performed the title track and ‘Guilt’ on Saturday Night Live in February 1980 where her voice cracked and she seemingly strained to even vocalize at times. This less-than-perfect performance, which some have called one of the worst on the live show, has been attributed to everything from her continuing drug use to her nervousness due to her former lover Mick Jagger making contact with her right before the performance. …”
Wikipedia
Guardian
Pitchfork
amazon, iTunes
vimeo: Marianne Faithfull “Broken English”
YouTube: Broken English (Live)
albumsdepot: Broken English (Full)

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