widely considered marianne faithfull's best album, 'broken english' has a hazy, bleary-eyed expressiveness that matches atmosphere with emotional impact. throughout the 1960s and '70s faithfull was generally considered a shooting star in the pop firmament, a passing flavour not to be taken seriously by serious music listeners. but 1979's 'broken english' changed that with its stylistic curveballs and dark, disconcerting vibe. the album is steeped in the synthesizer sounds typical of the era; but where this tends to date most releases from the time, it works beautifully here. the pulsing surge of the synths balances nicely with faithfull's sluggish, tattered-sounding voice (the title track is a perfect example). other album highlights include the bluesy, off-kilter 'brain drain,' and her slicing cover of john lennon's 'working class hero.' while compilations will provide a comprehensive look at her work, 'broken english' is the faithfull studio album to get.
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