Blonde On Blondes
Marianne Faithfull’s new album, Kissin Time, sports a lot of marquee talent — three collaborations with Beck, two with Billy Corgan, and one each with Blur’s Damon Albarn and Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker. If that roster allows for the possibility that Faithfull be judged by the company she keeps, it won’t be the first time. The chanteuse was initially known for her professional and private association with Mick Jagger. So it’s no surprise that she’d feel enough kinship with Nico — the late Velvet Underground singer and Andy Warhol’s Factory worker who was said to have had an affair with Brian Jones, among others — to write Kissin’s unabashedly empathetic ”Song for Nico.”
”I wouldn’t say ‘sisterly feelings’ — that’s too sappy for me — but we had a lot in common,” says Faithfull, 55, who describes ”Song for Nico” as ”an attempt to rehabilitate” the Teutonic temptress from biographers who’ve painted her as more difficult than talented. ”I’m well aware there must have been sides of Nico that were a nightmare, and probably in some ways she was mad. But to me that’s never been a disadvantage,” she says, laughing. Of course, it’s easier to pay homage to the troublesome dead than deal with the difficult still-living. ”Yeah, that’s the problem with me,” she says.
The CD also includes a paean to another key counterculture blonde — Faithfull, that is. To get some objectivity, she didn’t write it herself, instead handing Cocker the title ”Sliding Through Life on Charm” and asking him to pen a song from her point of view. ”He managed it brilliantly, through mind-to-mind transmission or something,” she says. If her Nico tribute is tragedy, Faithfull’s autobiographical tune is something closer to comedy. Charmed, we’re sure.