|| Washington POST
By the age of 33, Marianne Faithfull had already traced the arc from doe-eyed teenage ingenue delicately warbling "As Tears Go By" in 1965, to chief consort of the Rolling Stones during the band's hedonistic prime at the turn of the decade, to flint-hearted survivor croaking profane vitriol throughout her most resonant disc, "Broken English," in 1979. But after convincingly portraying herself as one who'd done and seen it all, what does Faithfull do for an encore?
As with most of her post-'79 recordings, Faithfull's intermittently satisfying response on "Kissin Time" is to collaborate with luminaries beguiled by her legacy. Post-punk poster boys Beck and Billy Corgan (the latter of Smashing Pumpkins fame) climb aboard for three tracks apiece. Beck festoons the jaded-chic pose of "Sex With Strangers" with pop-'n'-glow burbles that sound like an outtake from his "Midnite Vultures" CD, goes the simple folk route on "Like Being Born," and allows Faithfull to take the determined nonchalance of his "Nobody's Fault" (from "Mutations") down a weary notch. Corgan opts for lush soundscapes that throw Faithfull's ravaged, Marlene Dietrich-style talk-song into dramatic relief. The fragile happiness Corgan calls forth on "Wherever I Go" further blossoms on their rendition of Herman's Hermits' "I'm Into Something Good," transcending kitsch.
The other highlight on "Kissin Time" is "Song for Nico," Faithfull's eulogy for a kindred icon of lost innocence from the '60s, co-written and produced by the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and featuring the refrain, "Yesterday's gone / There's just today / No tomorrow." The sweet-and-sour poignance in her voice lets us know that isn't true.
-- Britt Robson
(To hear a free Sound Bite from this album, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8151.)
[Edited by Jaxx]