Release Date: Mar 10, 2014
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
British vocalist Paloma Faith's third studio album, 2014's A Perfect Contradiction, is a slick, funky production featuring several big-name songwriters, from Pharrell Williams to Raphael Saadiq. In the post-Amy Winehouse world of soulful, '60s-centric, dance-oriented divas, Faith has always leaned toward the artier end of the spectrum, setting her cherubic yet impossibly robust vocals against her Frida Kahlo-meets-Dusty Springfield persona. Which isn't to say that Faith's music is an acquired taste.
Three albums into her career and Paloma Faith is only just starting to realize her full potential. She has somehow managed to have two multi-platinum albums in the UK while still being overshadowed by her peers Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Adele. It’s not that she hasn’t been evolving with each album, the problem is that there have always been people doing the same thing with better results.
Paloma Faith seems committed to a retro-soul routine. On A Perfect Contradiction she sticks to the well-worn path she trod on her previous two albums, serving up more doo-wop-inspired ditties and lovesick slow jams. Comparisons to Amy Winehouse are unlikely to stop: Only Love Can Hurt Like This and Taste My Own Tears sound like they could be lost B-sides from the late singer's catalogue.
It has often been a case of style over substance when it comes to the career of London singer-songwriter Paloma Faith, ever since she arrived on the scene with her debut Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? in 2009. Her eccentric, vintage dress sense and brightly coloured hair are much more likely to come to mind when her name is mentioned than the music she has produced on her first two records. Compared in some quarters to Duffy and the late Amy Winehouse for her retro-soul stylings, the 32-year-old has achieved reasonable success with previous singles such as Stone Cold Sober and New York, from her debut, and Picking Up The Pieces, from 2012’s Fall To Grace.
"I'm sick of being miserable," Paloma Faith said recently, and the evidence is here. The Hackney singer's third album sees her change direction from the heartbreak ballads of Fall to Grace to a funkier collection of snappy, percussion-led tracks that nod to 70s disco. Unfortunately, Faith's vocals are too theatrically overdone to be moving, and the songs too generic to reach any level of grandeur.
Touted as an album that sees her revisit her roots, Paloma Faith’s third set A Perfect Contradiction does indeed resurrect her old inspirations but fails to flesh them out. It’s an album that draws, and does so heavily, from the bygone eras of the Sixties and Seventies, heavy with nods to doo-wop and disco. It begins with the Pharrell Williams-produced ‘Can’t Rely On You’ with a funky rhythm and plenty of cowbell.