Kissin’ Time (Reissue)
By 2002 Marianne Faithful was eager to return to a more contemporary sound following albums in which she focused on Kurt Weill. These include Weill recording and performing his opera The Seven Deadly Sins, a collaboration with Angelo Badalamenti titled A Secret Life, and writing her own solo album, Vagabond Ways. It was clear by the list of guests on Kisssin’ Time that Faithfull was looking to work with artists who were on the cutting edge, who would allow her to experiment with dance music, sound, and alternative rock. The end result is the uneven but never boring album, Kissin’ Time. Faithfull has always been at her best when she works with others.
But Kissin’ Time was not the album fans were expecting at the time. Nor did it win her new fans. The album failed to chart in the U.S. and the U.K. Some of the collaborations seem odd on paper but worked out really well, such as “I’m On Fire”, a song she wrote and performs with Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins). It is an interesting use of spoken word and very dense production and yet in the end it is an incredible song. Whereas “Wherever I Go”, written by Corgan alone, seems more conventional and sounds like an outtake from her classic album Broken English. It isn’t bad, it is just not as interesting as “I’m On Fire”. “Song For Nico”, a tribute she wrote for her old friend Nico with Dave Stewart also works very well. Stewart brings that Eurythmics sound to the track but Faitfull turns the song around and the end result is a heartfelt tribute.
However, not all the collaborations live up to the expectations. The title track, written and performed with Blur, is fine but it is not interesting and does not seem to go anywhere. The same with her song with Pulp. “Sliding Through Life On Charm” is a good Pulp song. Not great or earth shattering, but it is good. Again, perhaps given the level of talent between the two, one expects just a little bit more. The lyrics are the high point of the song with Faithfull singing about her life in a rather blunt, yet poetic manner.
Elsewhere on the album, she works with Beck, and Les Valentins, and includes a brilliant cover of Carole King’s “Something Good”, which features Billy Corgan. As the album is celebrating 20 years, there are a number of bonus tracks, including a fantastic remix of “Sex With Strangers” as well as an interesting remix of the title track, which makes the song much more interesting than the album cut. The rerelease also features two previously unreleased songs, “The World Between” and “If You Don’t Touch Yourself”. Fans will enjoy these additions but in the long run they don’t add a great deal to the album.
Kissin’ Time is an album that allowed Faithfull to be a little more dangerous than she had been in the 1990s. She was trying to be contemporary and succeeded. She worked with a variety of younger and alternative musicians, and for the most part she made a great album. It is odd that the album did not find an audience in 2002, but maybe 20 years later, it will find the audience it deserves. It also makes its debut on vinyl, which will be welcomed by fans of Faithfull and the album itself.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: MARIANNE FAITHFULL – KISSIN’ TIME (REISSUE)