Paloma Faith's debut album comes in the wake of a slew of contemporaries who have received critical acclaim; her 2009 release puts her at least a year behind the likes of Duffy, Adele, Gabriella Cilmi, and the one who started it all, Amy Winehouse. Therefore, it's no surprise that Faith's debut, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?, is heavily affected by many of these aforementioned songbirds. Faith's debut is swimming in that bruising, soulful melodrama that Winehouse glamorized back in 2007. Highlights such as the album's title track can remind a listener of Back to Black's finest moments. At the same time, Faith's debut honors the crisp, icy sounds that Duffy and Cilmi brought to the table to critical acclaim. Therefore, what remains to be seen is how she stands out from her Brit counterparts. What Faith offers more than anyone else is the theatrical quality that music craves. Her background as a burlesque dancer helps her deliver these penetrable lyrics in a truly remarkable way; in fact, it's her delivery that makes these tunes so haunting. Lyrics from "Romance Is Dead" and "Smoke and Mirrors" suggest that Faith has the raw, creative potential with a pen that transforms good singers into artists. The album drives into twisted themes, like a killer Anne Sexton poem that seems to defy social norms through fairy tales (see "New York"). However, where this album falls short is in the production quality. While albums such as 19 by Adele offer a flourishing set of raw tunes, Faith's tracks seem too glossy and processed, as if an executive has tried too hard to make many of these tracks way too commercial. And while this is a plus on the album's lead single, "Stone Cold Sober" (which is as much Duffy as it is Katy Perry), many of the tracks lose that dramatic intrigue that makes them so cool. The overall mood of the album feels a bit broken and battered, but comes off too polished to let that feeling drive home. On her next release, Faith should consider letting the artistry pave the way instead of the commercial drive; however, as a new artist already following so many in the same vein, sometimes we have to sell out just a touch to be heard and appreciated for what we can offer later on.
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AllMusic Review by Matthew Chisling