Paloma Faith
Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?


4.0
excellent

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
October 21st, 2009 | 125 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Forget the truth & allow yourself to be swept away by something beautiful.

‘Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?’ is an extremely apt title for the debut album by English singer Paloma Faith. “I’m a chameleon, I’m always in disguise” she bellows on rousing opener ‘Stone Cold Sober’, before later following up the titular question of the title track with “I am happy to deceive you”. How honestly dishonest of her! It is without a doubt the best way to approach delivering the ten tracks on show here though, and the words “on show” are used entirely on purpose.

Since Paloma is another addition to the recent soul-pop craze, vocal comparisons to Amy Winehouse are certain to be made. However, where-as Winehouse lives and breathes every word, the same cannot be said of Faith. Any attempt to hide such a fact would be perceived as fake. As it is though, she is an entertainer. This should not surprise since Faith is a trained dancer, an ex-magician’s assistant and an actor (she has a role in ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ alongside Heath Ledger). And where did she begin singing? In cabaret and burlesque clubs of course!

Do not let any of the above background information scare you away however. Faith takes every single ounce of her experiences and infuses them into her music. It results in one hell of a theatrical roller-coaster ride that holds attention from beginning to end. With its infectious sing-along chorus and fantastic horns arrangement, the short, rapid-fire opener is a memorable song of the year contender. ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ includes sweeping cinematic strings, ‘Broken Doll’ contains a grand piano, ‘Stargazer’ opens with a harp, and ‘Play On’ satisfyingly closes proceedings by practically using all of the aforementioned musical elements plus a few more.

A wide array of accompanying vocal techniques are also thrown in for good measure; 2nd single ‘New York’ employs a gospel choir, ‘Upside Down’ has vaudevillian-like male backing vocals, and the closer alternately uses broadway-reminiscent females. Thankfully though, this LP is not just a kitchen sink musical and vocal extravaganza. Faith clearly knows how to construct a piece and proves it on the more conventional title track, which relies on melody and atmosphere above anything else. It is also a great example of her story-telling talent, which is used to good effect elsewhere on ‘Broken Doll’, ‘New York’ and especially ‘Romance Is Dead’.

Paloma Faith is clearly not going to be for everyone. Her distinct vocal style – which clearly borrows a little from Winehouse, Etta James & Billie Holiday – will put many off. As will her quirkiness and overly dramatic theatrical nature. However, those willing to immerse themselves in Faith’s world will be immensely rewarded by this catchy, consistent and powerful release. Forget the truth and allow yourself to be swept away. Or as the artist herself states on the title track; “just close your eyes and make believe”.

Recommended Tracks: Stone Cold Sober, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful, Play On & Romance Is Dead.



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user ratings (29)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Probably a strong 3.5 more than a 4, but you don’t want the truth! A 4 is more beautiful.

Douglas
October 21st 2009


9104 Comments


Is that like La Roux on the cover?

YouAreMySilence
October 21st 2009


3727 Comments


Based on the recs I doubt I'll enjoy this but I'll give it a listen for you usually don't let me down ;).

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That does look like La Roux on the cover with that hairstyle doesn't it?

Brandon, if you have yet to hear 'Stone Cold Sober', just give that a listen. If you don't like that (a) you're crazy & (b) should not proceed further.

Iai
Emeritus
October 21st 2009


3553 Comments


"Stone Cold Sober" is a god damn CHOON.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tell us something we don't know Nick. I'm presuming you have yet to hear the rest of the album...

Elementary
October 24th 2009


26 Comments


I found this kinda boring

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 24th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nooooo. It's anything but boring. In fact, if anything, there's too much going on in the background.

slapzstick
October 25th 2009


20 Comments


THIS IS NOT A CAMPAIGN!

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pardon?

slapzstick
October 25th 2009


20 Comments


It seems as though someone fell down the slippery review slope and landed onto campaigning grounds.

It is either this, my friend, or my ears have developed some type of abnormal tone distortion causing my brain to interpret what you hear as a lovely bouquet of hot Spanish/British hybrid flowers as a brutally launched attack upon my sanity.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My money is on the abnormal tone distortion. Haha.

I don't think I've gone over the top. I think it's more that you don't agree... Which is fine.

If you take a look at most positive reviews of albums that are not likely to have many people on this site listening to them in the firs place, you will find that there is a little bit of "campaigning" (your words, not mine) in them. It's only natural.

jrowa001
October 25th 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listened to a couple songs on her myspace. they were ok. will probably listen to the whole album sometime soon

i recommend getting the album "Metropolis, Suite I of IV: The Chase" by Janelle Monáe. she's a great neo-soul artist and i expect great things from her if she decides to make an LP

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good to hear Jeff. Although 'Stone Cold Sober' is better than "ok" in my books. If that was one of the tracks & it didn't do much for you, than I doubt the rest of the album will.

Thanks for the reco. Definitely noted as I have always liked your offbeat taste with female vocalists.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 26th 2009


10195 Comments


is this as good as florence and the machine

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's funny you ask that Adam, since I got both albums at the same time. Unfortunately, I have yet to find time to listen to 'Lungs', so cannot answer your question just yet. However, I can compare lead singles & do believe that 'Stone Cold Sober' is the better individual song.

jrowa001
October 26th 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lungs is better than this. Florence's vocals are more appealing to me. but Stone Cold Sober has grown on me the last few listens. the album as a whole is a grower (as was Lungs)

im glad my offbeat taste has helped you get into some good female vocalists. let me know what you think of Janelle Monae

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There's no doubt that Paloma Faith's vocals are going to be an acquired taste for many. Hell, I'm not even certain I'm a huge fan of them. She can definitely go over the top on occasions. But I think that's intended & the way the album is supposed to be.

I better get on Florence right away... Not literally, of course.

jrowa001
October 26th 2009


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i wouldnt mind getting on her, shes sexy in a few of her music vids (especially for The Drumming Song).

also check out Maria Timm for some good pop

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, I'm going to presume you mean pop music. Haha. I don't know where you find them all.



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