Monday, November 30, 2020

Paloma Faith - infinite things - album review

Some like to refer to her as the Queen of Quirky and some as just a Queen. But either way the fabulous powerhouse that is Paloma Faith and her iconic voice are back with her newest album Infinite Things. An album born from personal experiences in her life from love, loss, motherhood and the all the inbetweens, Paloma has produced yet another musical masterpiece that is a must listen for anyone. 

The album opens with the song Supernatural, filled with heavy drum beats and a sound reminiscent of late 80’s/ early 90’s dance tracks. The song is a feel good take on love and it’s magic with lines such as ‘you and me we are supernatural’ and ‘there are miracles when I’m by your side’ showing the power of love and it’s effects on those experiencing it with everything feeling magical and almost other worldly with the glow of love surrounding you. 

There is then a shift in mood when the album moves to the song Monster, which explores the darker sides of a relationship and the breakdown between 2 people when one seems to turn on the other making them the bad guy with lyrics such as ‘built me up and broke me down and told me not to make a sound’ the deeper bass tones in Faith’s vocal repertoire used to emphasise the message. But, she is able to turn the song on its head during the chorus as we hear the more uptempo sounds and a higher tone of voice in the chorus as the ‘monster’ is shown not to be something to be ashamed of but to embrace that image with the lyrics such as ‘hear me howl, I’m coming out’ the image of not allowing yourself to be put down and that being a monster isn’t always a bad thing and to not allow yourself to be put down and kept down. 

Gold is a positive song both in sound and lyrical content, the focal drum beat being almost impossible ignore, it’s a song you can’t stay still too. With lyrics such as ‘I’m shining so bright yeah I’m gold and ‘I’ve got a power in the way I walk I’m here to stay’ demonstrating the feel good factor if the song and it’s message of personal empowerment, it’s a song that makes you stand proud and walk tall, to help you feel good and let the world know you’re on top of it; and with the addition of the gospel choir in the background it just gives that extra oomph of positivity and an extra shot of feel good energy into the song and ultimately the listener too. 

Falling down is a song which has a pop/dance style feel to, the sort of song that wouldn’t feel out of place if you heard it whilst at a bar or a club. The sound of the song seems to be a conflicting choice for its content with the lyrical feeling be that of emotion turmoil and difficulty within a relationship situation that is less than preferential but the cosnsitent beat seems to mirror the internal back and forth of wanting to leave a situation but always finding yourself staying which is shown in the use of ‘and I know it’s wrong’ and ‘gotta give it up’ showing the battle of will between what to do. 

Infinite things, the title track of the album is what seems to be a beautiful tragedy with reference to her child/children; as Faith seems to vent her worries and pain over the world and what it has held for her and what it may hold for her child/children but also holding out hope for a better future thanks to the impact of motherhood on her. She apologises for the state of the world and it’s problems saying ‘I’m sorry that the world just ain’t good enough for you’, ‘you deserve so much better’ and ‘I’m afraid of the feeling I’m feeling’ as she worries about the impact the world has had on her and those around her and she doesn’t want those same impacts and experiences to be passed down to the next generation. But she also has hope because motherhood has helped her to survive these problems and make her a better person when she says ‘I’m nothing but you made me something’ and ‘I see heaven in your eyes’ for her motherhood has helped to save her from the person the world had tried to turn her into and she has found sanctuary in motherhood. 

If this is goodbye is the perfect emotional ballad that we all need sometimes, it’s a song to connect with to understand because so many people have experience the same situation. It’s a song of departure, the closing of one chapter no matter how painful that may be - ‘I know it pains us both to see each other like this’ and ‘I surrender and I hate it’ showing that it’s not an easy choice but a necessary one and the falsetto of Faith’s voice in the song reflects that pain and difficulty that saying goodbye brings with it, it’s a song about trying to cope with loss and letting go and trying to make sense of the end. 

Better than this feels like an exploration into the ups and downs of life and love with its building tempos and crescendo choruses showing the rollercoaster of a relationship. With lines like ‘they’re dreaming of better than this’ at its low points and ‘I know you’ll take me anywhere I wanna go’ at its highs. However, whilst the song is about showing the highs and lows of a relationship, it’s advocating for them and showing that a relationship needs the ups and downs because as the song ends it has the lyric ‘only when we discover, that’s when we find each other, that’s when we both get better than this’ and it shows that whilst you can be good on your own, when your in a relationship you can be even better when you find the right person because you boost each other up and you brave the ups and downs to make yourselves and your relationship better. 

Me time is a more personal song, with a lounge/jazz style piano at its heart, it’s the sort of song you can imagine playing in the background as you are in your own world, your own story and you walk alone down a path by a river or through a park and you sing to yourself as you embrace the music and your story. It’s a song of realisation; for when you feel beaten down by the people and the world around you and you feel like everyone else is taking over and trying to control you and then you finally get that chance to escape and you get that moment you’ve craved for. As the chorus begins to build, the path to freedom opens up before you get that release to be yourself - ‘I can do whatever I please if it makes me happy’ and ‘I need some me time, figuring out who I wanna be time’, the chance to finally be alone with yourself and let yourself be free to find yourself without anyone or anything interfering in that moment. A song to allow you to indulge yourself in and feel empowered as you break free from your chains and take control it’s a song of power and emotion perfect for a private moment through headphones or a tell it to the world performance through your speakers. 

If loving you was easy is a song that pulls at the heart strings with its lyrics seemingly depicting the struggles of the loss of love in a relationship but the desire and desperation to not lose it all. The song makes reference to the excitement and the spark of the early days of a relationship having gotten lost over time and the fear that with the loss of the spark, the loss of the relationship will follow soon after. However, there is still a chance and there is still the fight left in you because that’s what makes it all worth it the hardship is what makes love worth it with Faith saying ‘I don’t think I’d want you if loving you was easy’ she shows that the best things in life are the things we strive for and make the effort with because we only get true enrichment and fulfilment from things when we’ve put the effort into to them and if you didn’t have to try in a relationship, if there was no effort and nothing to work towards or strive for then it wouldn’t be worth having because you have to get through the difficult times to make the good times even better. 

Beautiful and damned is a simplistic song with beauty at its centre in both sound and lyrical content; it’s a song to listen to and tune out the world. The song finds a way to make take heartache and trouble and make it something beautiful with lyrics such as ‘I’m your ride or die l’ll hold your hand’ and ‘the angels took a piece of me’ which seems to potentially be making reference to the loss of someone who was incredibly important in her life, someone who she felt had so much and who she was there for and by the side of the person and that unfortunately that was taken from her, the song feels like it was written for the person that was lost from her life and in its simplicity, it provides healing not only to Faith but also to others who can empathise with the song themselves. 

I’d die for you follows on from beautiful and damned and feels like the perfect sequel. With its predecessor being a song about loss and about pain, I’d die for you feels like the aftermath and a song of healing and hope. It’s a song for the broken, the damaged and the hurt; for the people out there who feel lost or alone this song is there for you to help bring hope and positivity into your life. It’s almost as if Faith wants to reach out and show people that it’s okay when she says ‘I’ve been there, I know how you feel’ she’s hit the bottom and she can understand the thoughts, feelings and emotions and she doesn’t want anyone to have to suffer so she offers that hand of hope when she says ‘I’d give you my heart, pull you through’ she offers that light in the dark and tries to help people see that you’re not alone and there is always someone to help pick you up. She adds ‘I couldn’t stand losing you’, ‘nothing is worth all this grief’ to emphasise that no matter how you feel there is always someone there for you who wants you and needs you. It is a song of positivity to help you feel good and has a message that will resonate with so many people and let them know they’re not alone and they need to keep pushing on for themselves and for others. 

Living with a stranger then links back into the relationship style songs on the album and it’s got a contradiction of sound and substance again, as the song is a dance style number with club vibes but the song is one about hurt and sadness at the breakdown and loss of love and a relationship connecting as the distance between the two parties grows increasingly bigger. The story is depicted in the song of the relationship breakdown as we see Faith go from ‘when we’re together we’re alone, it’s got me slowly losing hope’ along with ‘can’t handle your complacency’ before making it clear that it’s too much when saying ‘I’d be better off alone instead of living with a stranger’; it’s a painful realisation that the person you loved is now as good as a stranger to you and that the relationship has to come to end because the situation is no good for anyone. 

The album finishes with a song of sadness and yet hope and determination as it shows what seems to be a somewhat difficult and problematic relationship but one that seems to be worth fighting for and trying to save. The problems in the relationship clear in the lyric ‘now we’re in bed and you’re so distant’ but also the fighting spirit of not giving up by going on to say ‘don’t you sleep till we’ve worked this out’ it shows the fear of not wanting to lose someone and wanting to remedy whatever problem there may be. She shows the importance of love and of fighting for a relationship you care about by saying ‘this could be our last night on earth so won’t you hold me now’ and ‘can we not let go, can we work this out’ she makes it clear that if something is worth saving then fight for it and also making reference to the never knowing when our last moments with someone may be and always trying to make the most of what we have with them, so don’t dwell on the bad moments and the downsides or fights and to work through the problems and move on to a better and happier moment and treasure the moments with the people you love. 

This new album from Paloma Faith is a journey of emotion through song and it’s yet another example of talent and exceptional artistry from Faith as she has produced yet another incredible record to add to her existing collection. It’s an album filled with raw feeling and vulnerability that allows the listener to step into the ups and downs Faith has faced whilst also leaving them feeling hopeful for the future. The album is in the basic of terms simply beautiful and is a must listen for anyone and everyone whether you want to delve into the lyric and emotions or just enjoy some good music I’d recommend this as compulsory listening for anyone it’s utterly stunning. 

-Georgina Shine


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