Marianne Faithfull, A Woman Who Knows The Darkness of Which She Sings

From hit-making to heroin-soaked seclusion and, at times, homelessness, Marianne Faithfull emerges on the other side as a woman who understands the darkness of which she sings as we look back on the racounteur's life and legacy.

Initially poised for the peripheral success of a posh adjunct to the ongoing folk revival--her cut-glass voice capable of primly essaying its staple songs for an audience more used to finding music via Saturday variety specials on BBC One than in the spit-and-sawdust environment of a folk club or coffeehouse--, the pouting and lovely orchestral pop anomaly sets the stage for expectation-defying artistry at virtually every key juncture. A decadent pre-punk progenitor with the distinctive rasp and relish of someone who knew where the bodies were buried, Faithfull is a bleeding-heart interpreter of aural tradition and the living embodiment of a golden era's dark underbelly, picking through the wreckage with venomous poignancy and wintry romanticism.

Though her vocals (and general je nais sais quoi) would be dubbed "too rock and roll" to make the final cut on Serge Gainsbourg's widely-storied "Je t'aime moi non plus", the madness and magic of Marianne Faithfull triumphs over a remarkable half-century onward with filming underway on a highly-anticipated biopic chronicling the singer, style icon and occasional ingenue.

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