WORTH A LOOK?: ****
TRACKLIST: Supernatural; Monster; Gold; Falling Down; Infinite Things; If This Is Goodbye: Better Than This; Me Time; If Loving You Was Easy; Beautiful & Damned; I’d Die For You; Living With A Stranger; Last Night On Earth
We first saw Paloma Faith live by chance when we were waiting for another main stage act at Lovebox in east London a decade ago and it was her personality and way with her hometown crowd that initially drew us in.
- Read on for reasons including how Sigrid and MNEK are co-writers here
The songs weren’t bad either and this, her 5th album, is for us a more consistent set than those previously as well as featuring some classic retro-sounding pop singles for which we think of her most fondly.
It is the Etta James and Billie Hollday inflections in a vocal that reminds of Amy Winehouse that has always singled her out and she has co-written all but 1 of the 13 tracks here.
The odd-one-out (listen to Gold below) was co-penned by monstagigz favourite Sigrid and it’s a real coup for the Norwegian rising star to be featured here yet we can hear why the pop banger caught Faith’s ear.
Another of our favourite acts MNEK is one of the co-writers of uptempo dancefloor track Monster which boasts a revelatory lyric, one of the few of the best tracks here that we had yet to hear before the album came out on Friday.
There’s some classic pop songwriting in this collection and, while we’ve seen Faith more recently at outdoors gigs at Victorious and ONBlackheath, her planned return to the live arena next year can’t come soon enough.
For us Faith’s best ever song is Can’t Rely On You (co-written with Pharrell Williams) and although nothing quite eclipses it here there are some pleasing Prince references musically, opening track Supernatural is part New Radicals’ You Get What You Give with a nod to His Purple Rain. There’s also a gorgeous melody evocative of Prince on Beautiful and Damned.
The title track sounds like a slightly speeded-up Every Breath You Take by The Police with hopeful lyrics the pregnant star may be singing to her unborn child: ‘If there’s a God, then I found her in my arms, I saw you looking like the heaven in my dreams, All the joy and the chaos that I see, I see in your eyes those Infinite Things.’
There are 7 writing credits on the moving, piano-led Better Than This including Swedes Salem Al Fakir and Victor Pontare who were behind 1 of the best songs of the year for Agnes.
We’re enjoying the conviction with which Faith sings: ‘I’m self destructive, you want to say ‘F*** this’ and go?’ on If Loving You Was Easy.
Final track Last Night On Earth is an anthemic and rousing conclusion to an impressive collection of songs sung with real soul.