Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Have A Little Faith in Paloma's Impassioned "Fall To Grace"

I recently tuned in to Late Night with David Letterman to see his interview with Led Zeppelin. The classic rockers (as well as Dave himself) had just been celebrated at The Kennedy Center Honors. The group stopped by to discuss their experiences receiving the award. It was a great segment, but as I often do when I watch the show, I stuck around to check out the evening's musical guest. On this episode, it was British performer Paloma Faith, who sang “Picking Up The Pieces,” from her sophomore release Fall To Grace (2012). I enjoyed the song, and decided to check out the whole album. I wasn’t disappointed.

Ms. Faith is an old school songstress with a powerful voice & a great stage presence. Her sound is a mix of soul, pop & jazz. I hear echoes of Amy Winehouse & Aretha, with a dash of Lady Gaga & even a hint of 80s dance queen Taylor Dayne; Yes folks, I said Taylor Dayne. From the almost Jim Steinman-esque “Picking Up The Pieces” to the soul-laced anthem “Black & Blue,” this is an artist who’s not afraid to flaunt her flair for the theatrical and go over the top with her performances. She can move easily between the softer, more understated numbers like “Just Be,” to the dance floor workout “Freedom,” or the synth-driven “30 Minute Love Affair.” You might find that the the chamelon-like nature of the music suggests that Ms. Faith had a really cool dinner party with Madonna, Adele & Annie Lennox, and you wouldn't be far wrong.

Faith’s powerful vocals bring these songs alive with a depth of feeling that’s often missing from this type of pop record. These are tales of bruised and battered lovers, such as the moving “When You’re Gone” and the Winehouse-style “Let Me Down Easy.” The lyrics are passionate & raw, recalling broken hearts & souls, but giving the listener a sense of redemption, strength & rebirth. The artist worked with talented collaborators like Dan Wilson (co-writer of Adele’s Someone Like You) & film scorer David Arnold (veteran of several Bond films, Independence Day) so she could be sure the soundscapes of these well-produced songs had some color & emotion as well.

There are a group of talented neo-soul singers that originated from the UK making a splash these days (including Joss Stone, Duffy, the aforementioned Adele & the late Ms. Winehouse, to name a few) but Paloma Faith can hold her own. She counts classic soul singers like Etta James & Billie Holiday among her influences, and every track on the album exudes her love for this type of music. Ms. Faith succeeds in a variety of styles on this enjoyable record. It’s no surprise that the US edition of the album includes a passionate cover of the INXS classic “Never Tear Us Apart.” Some deluxe editions of the album also include acoustic versions of several tracks. Fall To Grace is now available in stores and for digital download from various sources.

Here are links to "Picking Up The Pieces" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijel4Vcqd9g, the acoustic version of "Black & Blue" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV1x_ZzxUYg, and her cover of "Never Tear Us Apart" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCYtesyE7OA.

Next: Bruno Mars Returns With An "Unorthodox Jukebox"

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