Album Review: Paloma Faith – Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful (2009)


It is impossible to review ‘Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful’ without making the obvious comparisons to Duffy and Amy Winehouse so I’ll get that bit out of the way first by stating that I found the Duffy album to be enjoyble but nowhere near as good as this and that I have to admit to being one of the few people on the planet who have never actually heard the Amy Winehouse album as I couldn’t be doing with all the hype, the media circus and the all the nonsense that came with her. I’ll probably take a listen in a year or two when all the nonsense has died down and wish I’d heard it earlier !! One thing that is for certain though is that of the three of them Paloma is certainly the looker.

So mindless preamble and sexist claptrap out of the way what about the album itself. Well its a right little belter of an album to be honest. Albeit just a little too short but I suppose thats better than it being too long.

Opening track and lead off single ‘Stone Cold Sober’ is not to be confused by the track of the same name by Crawler but is a superb piece of sixties retro pop which unsurprisingly found itself advertising a well known cosmetics firm within months of release. ‘Smoke and Mirrors follows and whilst that might not have the same immediate impact as the opener it highlights Faith’s vocal, lyrical and phrasing ability. A talent which is vital in this type of music and is clearly one of the areas in which she surpasses Duffy. Similar can be said of ‘Broken Doll’ which has a lyric of despairing vulnerabilty which is put across in a totally believable style. The Bond theme like string arrangement in the latter part of the song doesn’t do it any harm either. The title track follows next and moves the barrier up even further in my opinion. In fact it probably pushes it as high as it goes on here as it is for me the albums highlight. ‘Upside Down’, another one of the five tracks released as a single is a nice fast paced jazzy little number with male backing vocals whilst ‘Romance Is Dead’ once again highlights Faiths ability as a storyteller with its well worked lyric. ‘New York’ is a wonderfullly glorious soaring epic which features a gospel choir in the shape of the London based Souls of Prophecy Gospel Choir. ‘Stargazer’ is probably one of the lesser known tracks on the album, and again shouldn’t be confused with the Rainbow classic of the same title, but is still a great vehicle for Faith’s vocal prowess.’ ‘My Legs Are Weak’ is marginally inferior but packed full of melodrama and the album closer ‘Play On’ features a harpsichord some more great backing vocals and a lead vocal display of the highest magnitude encompassing all of Faiths impressive range.

An apt ending for a superb debut album as the cry now should surely be ‘Play on Paloma …… Play on’

© Martin Leedham. Originally published on RYM September 2010

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About Martin Leedham

Music critic, Horse Racing Tipster, Hapless Dreamer, Defender of the Underdog
This entry was posted in Album Reviews, Music, Music Reviews, Pop, Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Soul, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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