The ghost of Amy Winehouse haunts this hit LP, from Paloma Faith’s heady retro-soul vocals, to her Susan Sontag-in-Bride of Frankenstein bouffant, to the lyric “I know a girl who drinks herself to sleep at night/You can’t change her.” Yet faulting a modern U.K. diva for channeling Winehouse is like faulting a punk band for sounding like the Ramones. Faith blends a fierce old-school vocal attack (the Dusty in Memphis drama on “Beauty of the End”) with new-school flexibility (the disco-diva turn on “Blood, Sweat & Tears”).
The ten songs on Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?, Paloma Faith's U.K. Top Ten debut, were touched by over a dozen producers. For Fall to Grace, the follow-up, the singer worked almost exclusively with the duo of Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran) and Nellee Hooper (Massive Attack). Naturally, as a result, it's more of a piece than merely a collection of songs.
Review Summary: Has this eccentric Brit fallen victim to the dreaded second album curse?While it is both cliché and over-stated to suggest that an artist’s second album is the one which most shapes their career, the rule will more often than not hold when said artist is perceived to be a bandwagon jumper. A member of the female Brit revolution of the late noughties, London-born singer-songwriter Paloma Faith actually splits her time between two cliques: the soul-pop of Winehouse, Adele, Duffy & Co. , as well as the quirky theatricality of Florence, Marina, Lily & Co.
When Hackney's Paloma Faith was preparing to follow up her platinum-selling debut album, 2009's Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?, she reread Milan Kundera's Immortality, declaring it a big influence on her songwriting. Perhaps its themes of art and death are behind lyrics such as Black and Blue's "I know people who use chatrooms as confessionals/ I know down and outs who once… once they were professionals". Then again, she might have randomly cut and pasted a couple of headlines from the Daily Mail website.
Proof that pop doesn't need to be grey and restrained to feel grown-up. Nick Levine 2012 Paloma Faith makes a great pop star: sharp as a hatpin, mouthy enough to reprimand The Voice after her "realistic" comments were reportedly cut from a recent guest spot, and no stranger to the dressing-up box (check out this album's cover). Her 2009 debut, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?, was a respectable success, spawning a couple of top 20 hits and slowly going platinum.