Marianne Faithfull

A Stranger on Earth: An Introduction to Marianne Faithfull

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OK, the title is pretentious enough to have been used for a box set, and the songs jump around from decade to decade, but the 16-song collection A Stranger on Earth: An Introduction to Marianne Faithfull has its merits and, equally important, its surprises. The opening track, "As Tears Go By," is not Faithfull's mid-'60s hit pop/rock single version but her much darker and more personal 1987 re-recording, which is not only a better record but a perfect record, the artist and the song finally converging together at the former's optimum moment to tackle the latter. Leaping from there through her 1960s rendition of "Sister Morphine," to her classic version of "Reason to Believe," and to her Phil Spector-influenced "Is This What I Get for Loving You?," the disc offers multiple incarnations of Faithfull as a singer and persona and is, indeed, just about the best overview of the singer in under 20 songs (and not one of them "Broken English," which is saved for another anthology). And the sound is excellent.

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