British Invasion legend Marianne Faithful has been at this for decades. When she contributed haunting guest vocals on Metallica’s “The Memory Remains” in 1997, she already had an eerie old lady vibe going on. So it only makes sense that 21 years later, on a duet with Nick Cave, she is basking in that weathered late-career Johnny Cash aesthetic.
The mournful folk-rock ballad in question, “The Gypsy Faerie Queen,” is the lead single from Faithfull’s new album Negative Capability, out in November. Racked by arthritis, Faithfull recorded the album with help with a number of musicians in Cave’s circle, including Warren and Rob Ellis, Ed Harcourt, and Mark Lanegan. In a press release, she explains, “There’s nothing like real hardship to give you some depth. I’ve had terrible accidents and I’m really damaged. It’s changed my life forever. I’m in a lot of pain and worked really hard to get strong so I can do my work. The great miracle is I was able to make this beautiful record.”
In the case of “The Gypsy Faerie Queen,” Faithfull wrote lyrics inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at which point Cave entered the frame. Faithfull explains, “I asked Nick if he would put music to it and he wrote back saying, ‘I’m so busy.’ I said, ‘I understand, sorry to bother you.’ Then he just wrote back, ‘Thank you so much for understanding; here’s the song.’ It’s just gorgeous.”
I fully agree! Listen below.
02 “The Gypsy Faerie Queen”
03 “As Tears Go By”
04 “In My Own Particular Way”
05 “Born To Live”
06 “Witches Song”
07 “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
08 “They Come At Night”
09 “Don’t Go”
10 “No Moon In Paris”
11 “Loneliest Person”
Negative Capability is out 11/2. Pre-order it here.