Review | Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull, Broken English (Deluxe Edition), Universal Music

Broken English is such a good record. What a good idea to re-issue it, re-mastered and with bonus material. What a bad idea for that bonus material to be barely tweaked versions of the same songs. The songs are brilliant. Title track ‘Broken English’ is shot through with Marianne Faithfull’s headstrong drawl. ‘Witches Song’ has lost none of its charms. These songs have not dated; the remastered versions on the first of this two CD set have received a fresh polish and they shine.

The second CD contains the original mix of each track, as well as three further mixes of ‘Broken English’. This is the central problem with this re-issue: none of the additional mixes do anything particular with this track. The vocal track remains the same. It was always what pulled the song together, and it continues to do its job, perhaps too well as there is too little difference between these mixes. It’s a great song. It’s a brilliant, distinctive and powerful vocal track. But. But if you wanted to listen to it over and over then all media players now come with a ‘repeat’ button.

This is Marianne Faithfull’s debut record. It came out in 1979 but it still sounds relevant today. That’s the strength of this re-issue: this record deserves an audience. The mixes are, however, unnecessary. The CD comes with some exclusive film footage, so it is be worth buying rather than downloading, just don’t expect any surprises.

Arike Oke

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