Broken English is the seventh studio album by English singer Marianne Faithfull. It was released on 2 November 1979 by Island Records. The album marked a major comeback for Faithfull after years of drug abuse, homelessness, and suffering from anorexia. It is often regarded as her "definitive recording" and Faithfull herself described it as her "masterpiece". Broken English was Faithfull's first major release since her album Love in a Mist (1967). After ending her relationship with Mick Jagger in 1970 and losing custody of her son, Faithfull's career went into a tailspin as she suffered from heroin addiction and lived on the streets of London. Severe laryngitis and drug abuse during this period permanently altered Faithfull's voice, leaving it cracked and lower in pitch. She attempted a comeback in 1976 with Dreamin' My Dreams, which achieved only minor success. Shortly afterwards, Faithfull began working with musician Barry Reynolds, who produced the songs "Broken English" and "Why D'Ya Do It?". The demos attracted the attention of Chris Blackwell who signed Faithfull to his record label Island Records. The album was recorded at Matrix Studios in London. Faithfull collaborated with producer Mark Miller Mundy on the remaining songs for the album. After the whole album was recorded, he suggested making the music "more modern and electronic" and brought in Steve Winwood on keyboards. Musically, Broken English is a new wave rock album with elements of other genres, such as punk, blues and reggae. Broken English received critical acclaim. It peaked at number 82 on the Billboard 200, becoming her first album to chart in the United States since Go Away from My World (1965) and giving Faithfull a first nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. It reached number 57 in the United Kingdom and entered the top five in Germany, France and New Zealand. Broken English was certified platinum in Germany and France and sold over one million copies worldwide. Two singles were released from the album, with "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" peaking at number 48 on the UK Singles Chart. The album was included on NME magazine's list of "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.Wikipedia
“Broken English” by Marianne Faithfull (1979) Banger alert. It’s hard to believe this album was released in 1979. If it had been produced today, the closing (banned in 1979) track “Why’d Ya Do It?” would be placed first, and perhaps have become the title track. This track alone is Exhibit A for the case that women belong in rock & roll (and hip hop, while we’re at it). The Go-Go’s should be shot. You’ve got to listen to this album as if you’d never heard Cyndi Lauper, who copied Faithfull in many ways. But Faithfull’s destroyed voice came honestly. Smoking, alcohol, and heroin will do that. Faithfull’s version of “Working Class Hero” is better than John Lennon’s. Seriously. Her voice is better suited than Lennon’s to express anger, angst, and ambivalence. And the instrumental production is a vast improvement over Lennon’s solo guitar. Jeez. The title and lead track here, “Broken English”, is best heard in the 1979 context of western perplexity over the young woman Ulrike Meinhof of Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang (“Red Army Faction”) taking up the cause of Marxism. Boomers with boom (demonstrating that women have a place in terrorism, too), they killed more than thirty people over course of their career. These kids made today’s Antifa look like a bunch of kittens. “Guilt” reflects on the formal distinction in theological anthropology between objective guilt and subjective guilt feelings. Take a moral dive into this song, and you’ll come to the surface with enhanced self awareness, maturity, and contentment. “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” echoes “A Streetcar Named Desire” and anticipates “Thelma and Louise”. Nuff said. God, this music makes you think. 5/5
After a lengthy absence, Faithfull resurfaced on this 1979 album, which took the edgy and brittle sound of punk rock and gave it a shot of studio-smooth dance rock. Faithfull's whiskey-worn vocals perfectly match the bitter and biting "Why'd Ya Do It" and revitalize John Lennon's "Working Class Hero."
I'm still surprised a few days later by how much I enjoyed this album, especially listening to it immediately after British Steel. The final song is dirty. I approve.
Marianne Faithfull nailed this late 70's album. It's a synth-pop masterpiece. Steve Winwood's handy work on the synths and keys pairs well with Faithfulls' vocals, there are lots of interesting sounds and textures going on in this album. Winwood's parts were added as an after thought by the producer to make the album sound more modern and electronic. My first suggested album to listen to from this generator, and a great album to begin with.
Love the new wave/post punk production, it's in the vein of Dylan's "Infidels" or "Empire Burlesque." I wasn't super familiar with much by Faithfull before listening to this, at least outside of her version of "As Tears Go By," which is gorgeous. This is a whole different animal, her alto has lost the honey sweet smoothness of the British Invasion days but it's beautiful in a more complex, adult way. The more I think about this, the more I'm in love with it and I want more.
Surprisingly enjoyable. Voice not what I expected. Musically and stylistically diverse in parts but quite conservative blue rock soundings across quite a few tracks. Top tracks: Why’d ya do it, Broken English
This blew me away in a weirdly subtle and understated way. Wasn't really paying much attention to it until I noticed the steady increase in intensity that seems permeate the entire record but which sharply climbs from The Ballad of Lucy Jordan onward. Wide ranging social commentary on a number of issues and themes contribute to a very provocative and captivating listening experience. I love how strained her voice is especially when it breaks. Brain drain is a highlight and the synth/sax outro to Guilt is amazing. Also her dad was an M15 spy - how cool. Have already listened to her other stuff which is totally different but equally as good. Feeling some big Neil Young energy from her catalogue.
Underrated. Under discussed. Probably because the artist is a woman. It’s a great album. As good as anything her male UK peers were making at the time.
Wow, this is stunning. I don't know if it's my own blinkers or those of the music world, but I feel I would have heard this album, and a lot more praise for it, if it was by a male artist. Anyhow, love the bluesy rock sound, which sounds fresh and edgy as well as being "proper rock". I love her voice, which has power and grit, but also a kind of fragility to it. Pretty fucking perfect. 5/5 and added to my personal collage. :)
One of a very few woman that I enjoyed listening to. And you can understant what she is singing, too.
Uno de los mejores discos de la historia.
Pleasantly surprised by this delightfully odd album!
Tooka second listen to appreciate this. Her voice is really cool and lyrics are really interesting too. Wasn't particularly taken by the music at first, but it grew on me and does goes through a few different waves throughout the album. Highlight is definitely Guilty. Working Class Hero is so suspenseful and intense too.
Damn fine music.
First time listener of Marianne Faithful and I loved it. Will definately give it another listen. And she is the original angry girl!!!! 4 stars
Me gusta mucho este disco, aunque no lo escucho tanto. Quizá debería hacerlo más, pero bueno, un sólido 9/10. "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" y "Working Class Hero" me encantan.
Her voice is unique and strange. The songs are intense. I appreciate it. The Working Class Hero cover was ambitious, but I think she pulled it off.
Rock peculiar. Versión de Working class hero.
A completely new album for me a really depressing album featuring Marianne's various struggles this really is a work of art and a revolutionary album for its time
some interesting parts but i hated her voice
This is one that comes down to the vocals for me. I simply don't like her voice. I know that's supposed to be part of the story with what she went through and everything but it just doesn't work for me. I do like the arrangements and atmosphere though. My favorite track is probably her cover of "Working Class Hero" - she makes it so sinister. And I must say "Why'd You Do It" is an hell of a way to close an album. Wow. Gotta respect that honesty. God damn.
Tough rating. I’ve never heard Marianne F, but I knew that voice had to be iconic then and now. Several songs really got me feeling things—especially the proto girl rock/Liz Phair stuff, but then (especially on the first listen) some of it felt just a little too country. I’d listen to some songs but not the whole album again.
I enjoyed this and admire her place as a cultural icon. Not a stand out album for me.
60's female liberation calcified into snide, embittered, off-hand broadsides. She confidently rides disco-punk-and-even-ska rhythms that are itchy and agitated because it's not easy being a woman. Esepecially one who's putting everyone in the dock--herself, her cheating bastard boyfriend, and the cunt he had in their bed.
Episode 8: Scott takes mushrooms, freaks out and forgets he's at a funeral. He throws up all over the elderly woman's decaying corpse. It's a metaphor for this album.
Highlights: "Broken English," "Guilt" This album is here because of who the artist is, their connection to pop music history, and how we're expected to read that into the mostly banal lyricism. The fact that it sucks on a visceral level is supposed to achieve symbolic meaning. It rests on merits of theater, or marketing, not music. It's a postmodern kind of critical acclaim, where the shortcomings and contradictions are profound until proven otherwise. We're told this album is an indictment of the icons and false promises of the '60s, but to have that weight it requires us to be preoccupied with rock tabloids in the first place, to glorify the artist for their connections in the first place. Pick a review at random and you'll find all the same name-dropping that occurred back then, the accolades of people that wronged her. She's trading in the coin she tells us is baseless. It's not just about celebrity eating its own head, we might suggest in her defense; it's about the rosy egalitarianism of the times. Then where does she stand now? The daughter of a baroness sings songs about a lower-class woman who will never have the rich man and the luxury car, covers John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" -- perhaps to self-flagellate, the generous listener thinks -- but what are Lucy Jordan and Lennon's hero to do? What's the heroism? Certainly not protest, unless it's to languish and snarl over deadbeat lovers, and political violence is right out. The only pointed political target besides Lennon's vague pancultural consumerist and authoritarian is the communist RAF, and her one point is that they don't represent her, literal royalty. There's nothing socially *constructive* she has to say, unless you count her dogmatic ode to witchcraft -- apparently *that's* the element of the counterculture she still finds credible! It's purportedly a personal triumph, an album of resilience... except defiance is only the most limited kind of resilience. She does after all fall back on the self-exploiting image of the Ruined Woman throughout the work. To credit her just for writing music after homelessness and losing custody of her child would be a grave insult to artists like Moon Dog or Joni Mitchell. Her attack on her milieu takes the form of a cautionary tale: see how horrible this is? Isn't this culture she's participating in right at this very moment so repugnant? Isn't this an awful, godforsaken wreck?
An agonising, slow, torturous death of a record. A shit in a kettle in a Premier Inn hotel room, but it's too late, you've already drank the tea. Musical AIDS.
I'm listening to Broken English by Marianne Faithfull. I've never listened to this album before, and only have tangentially heard of Marianne as part of the 60s London swinging rock scene. And she dated Mick Jagger famously. First impressions are positive. This is why I'm doing this funny generated album web site for a chance to find something new. I would have liked this album if I had explored and given her a chance. It connects with Television Marquee Moon, it feels of that time and place when punk was exploding. It's been a revelation to hear this on this morning when Trump leaves the White House. Marianne had quite a tough and colorful life leading up to this album, and I feel it all wash over me. I would like to spend some more time with this album. The title track and the one about Lucy Jordan are my favorites so far.
Raunchy, raw, powerful. Faithfull's version of The Ballad of Lucy Jordan is iconic and moving and inspired me to get to Paris, even if it wasn't in a sports car.
What an amazingly intense album on survival. The songs are incredibly strong, her voice broken and you can feel power, pain and disillusionment throughout the album. And an absolutely haunting version of Working Class Hero to boot. 4,5*
This basically just needs to be listened to. It encapsulates an entire decade of thought and attitude by white people in the UK in one album. 5/5
Well this was a pleasant surprise. Never heard of this artist before and it was fantastic. Reading about her I'm surprised the name doesn't ring a well since she was involved in the 60s British invasion. Definitely a great find.
Very late 70's in sound which seems to suit her voice this album seems to be more about Marianne than the music. She has an odd voice and has a magnetic personality. Try checking out her 60's songs on Spotify and it's shocking the contrast. The music is average but the lyrics and Marianne's voice and persona make this worth listening to. It's all about excess and self-destruction. BTW don't listen to 'Why'd ya do it ' with your mother in the room......
She was God in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and it was a well-deserved role. She is fantastic. I just checked on Wikipedia to make sure she’s still alive and she is.
I cannot tell you how happy it made me to see this was the choice today. Again, it’s been kicking around the house since its release 40-odd years ago. Her voice is amazing and every song is painfully raw and emotional. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan - I used it as a learning tool when I was young - that I would never be in a position to feel stifled and helpless and ‘unable to ride through Paris’. Then I grew up. But it still has an amazing visceral power with the ability to reduce me to tears, every time. (Side note - Michelle Shocked’s Anchorage has the same theme and same effect on me. Playing these two songs back to back is a killer.) Back to MF - this is one of those albums that makes you feel exposed. Every song is incredible, for me there are no weak points. And the cover of Working Class Hero, I would wager, is better than the original. She adds another layer of pathos. I feel like I’ve had the stuffing knocked out of me and need time to recover. But I guess that’s indicative of music that can bypass reason and inhabit your soul. Outstanding!
Kind of a slow burn at the beginning, but after a while it becomes really good. A mix of blues-rock, synth, at times with a bit of Pink Floyd vibe, both musically and lyrically. And the unique vocals really help this album stand out.
A perfect mix of folk, dance, and punk. This album is the epitome of what the early '80s became and is a soundtrack for 79-80.
Surprisingly enjoyed it though the composition is simpler than many other albums
4/21 Great songs, her raspy voice gives it that edge. Standout Tracks: Broken English, Guilt, The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan, Working Class Hero
New discovery. I like it and her career arc is really interesting.
Some hidden classics
Great, too short really. Blindsided by the last track! :grin:
Funny that guilt is on this album as it was also one of the closing songs in mindhunter which I've just finished watching. Guilt into ballad of Lucy John (which sounds like it had Leonard's fingers all over it) into a Blondie sounding What's The Hurry? is a very strong clutch.
Knew of Marianne Faithful, but had never heard her sing before. Dubious at the first few notes, I quickly found myself enjoying her voice and tone. The songs weren’t all awesome, but I’d definitely listen to another album.
This is a forgotten favorite from my youth. Favorite might be too strong an adjective as I liked it never loved it. Marianne's voice is an acquired taste; all tobacco stained and whisky soaked. But the songs are tough and uncompromising, (check out Why'd ya do It) for about as raw a lover scorned song as you will ever hear), and her take on Working Class Hero, the Lennon classic, is absolutely definitive. I do love the arrangements and listening to this for this first time in many years was a nostalgic and rewarding experience. 4.5🌟
Quirky. Klinkt niet alsof het uit 1979 komt. Veel covers.
Verrassend goed album zeg!
I am digging this vibe, but what are we talking about here in Broken English
Well, it's a listen. Not sure if I'd go for the whole album again, but it does grow quite considerably between the first and last tracks. I can definitely see how this has influenced later work. I was thinking Grace Jones, and it turns out that Barry Reynolds worked with Jones following the release of Broken English.
Enjoyed this. Never thought of Faithfull as musician. Shame on me. The synths are clearly bolt on, but they do succeed in modernizing it. I'm sure I've heard a cover of the title song somewhere too.
I know the name Marianne Faithfull but haven't knowingly heard her before. I know that she sang backup vocals on Neil Young's Harvest record. And I think she's more "of that era" but then I start listening to this record... This is so dang rad! Such synthy goodness. I'm really into it. Another record that BUT - Her voice sounds weak and strange. Again, haven't heard other things from her, so I don't know if that's an anomaly here, or that's what she sounds like. I think it works well for this style of music (which isn't necessarily known for great vocals). Just not what I expected for a person that *I think" is known for a great voice. [Note: After writing this, I looked the record up on Wikipedia and saw this, which may explain the voice: "The album marked a major comeback for Faithfull after years of drug abuse, homelessness, and suffering from anorexia."] I need to see what other great female songwriters were up to in the mid-late 70s. Between this record and Joni Mitchell's output, it seems like the ladies of the 60s were much more interesting after their careers peaked. I mean, does anyone want to hear what CSNY were doing in 1979? Didn't think so... This is a great record and I'll definitely listen again. Man, so many 4's in the new year. Need so shitty records to break this trend.
Un treball que expressa la música des d'una forma molt personal d'entrendre-la. I la persona que l'expressa demostra ser una artista en el seu sentit més punyent, rebosant -en aquell moment al menys, de coses a dir i de maneres com dir-les. Un disc molt personal, i a la vegada molt obert i fàcil d'entrar en ell. El cènit de Faithfull com a artista i una altra joia a conservar d'uns anys màgics de creativitat
girlboss laying down some good shit. English Joni Mitchell not messing around I liked a lot
I guess I never really got onto Marianne Faithfull’s post-70s career. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. Not exactly for me but I’ll give it an extramarital point for some ahead of their times raw nasty lyrics
dark, fractious, bohemian, a glass of wine and a Gitane. then another.
Still like the title song; rest of album pretty good
Very good album - surprisingly engaging.
Few different sounds mixed well in here. Who knew that county could sound good with a little electronic backing.
great transitional album with a couple electronica nods. keeps it punk though overall. working class hero cover is fantastic
Y'a des petits bangers en vrai !
Not bad. Reminiscent of grace Jones Dub in parts
This is surprisingly good. I knew next to nothing about her. My only memory, and it vividly came to mind as soon as I read her name here, was when I was maybe 13 or so and she was the musical guest on SNL. I had never seen or heard of her before. The reason why the memory is so vivid is that I remember so clearly how striking her appearance was, and, sadly, not in a good way. I had never seen a human so thin and frail. She looked severely ill. The performance is referenced in the Wikipedia entry about this album, and the entry speaks to her years of substance addiction and it makes sense now why my 13-year-old self was so struck by how she seemed. She is still alive, though, and hopefully, she's okay. I never like to see anyone suffer. In this album, I hear a talent that can cut across an interesting variety of music. Synth-dance-y at times, dark edgy bluesy and rock-sounding, and a bit of punk and new wave sound. Really cool stuff.
Liked this a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. Don't think I've ever listened to a Marianne Faithfull album before... Definitely pre-judged her and got it wrong
pretty groovy, 8/10
First time listening to this and I really enjoyed. Do recommend
Goddamn but "Why D'Ya You Do It" is still bracing, isn't it? So many controversial songs get tamed by the passage of time, but somehow this hasn't...
This is the kind of album I hoped I would find more often in this list, as far as variation goes. Generally, the album's style is pop/rock with some blues thrown in for good measure. The most well-known song is probably The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, which is dominated by a wobbly synth arrangement, but every single track is different here, so with every song the listener has something new to discover (unlike with so, SO many other albums on this list). This was a great find, to which I will listen again. 4/5
There’s a lot of interesting parts of this album - but it’s a little on the monotone side musically as a whole. However it contains some juggernauts - Why D’Ya Do It - the album closer is off the wall gritty and powerful - her cover of Working Class Hero is also a perfect match for her brooding gravely voice - title track Broken English and Ballad of Lucy Jordan also elevate this album. The brutal honesty of emotion throughout this record just gives it an extra star - it is the journal of a wrought heart and should be measured as such.
this is a great album. Lyrics, band, both up there. Marianne's voice needs to be gotten used to a little but it came off well.
Je connaissais le nom, mais n’avais encore jamais rien écouté de ce qu’elle a enregistré et j’avoue être agréablement surpris par cette écoute. La voix a du vécu, mais elle sert bien l’album. Gros coup de coeur pour Guilt et Why’d Ya Do It. Je vais assurément revenir à cet album.
Je ne sais pas si elle fait exrès pour que la voix casse comme ça, mais ça devient agaçant quelques fois. Autrement, c’est plutôt cool comme album.
Faithfull at his best
AHEAD OF ITS TIME. i would believe this was made today if i didn’t know better.
Surprisingly experimental and electronic, and quite raunchy.
The albums opener broken English is a decent song rather simple but a nice plunge into her sound, but there’s something about her singing that I really don’t like to be honest, hope that opinion improves as the album goes on. Witches song goes in a folkier direction than the other tracks I prefer it to the last song but something still isn’t clicking. Brain drain was a rather likeable song though I don’t know why though but this one was good, very good in fact! Guilt is a nice tender ending to side one that eventually spirals in its energy throughout, not necessarily something a I love but still rather entertaining. The ballad of Lucy Jordan is a banger an amazing example of side 2 track one being a banger! What’s the hurry was also a banger but I couldn’t find anything notable as such. The penultimate track working class hero is a slow powerful banger loved this one! Why’d ya do it is dance rock at it’s finest brilliant closer. This is a very backloaded album in my opinion the last 4 songs were amazing but the first 3 were a mixed bag. 4/5
total blindspot - had never even heard of her. sounds more recent than the 70s to me. intense.
Excellent album, I love her unique voice. All of the songs are good.
Interesting, dark, angry. I felt it
I quite liked this. Very good country-punk-synthpop stuff, and I really liked the darker and angrier songs. Favourite: Working Class Hero
Þessi plata er algjör negla. Fröken Faithfull kom þarna frama sínum aftur af stað eftir nokkur mjög erfið ár.
This is a package to be commended. A more than fine example of where the music delivers to album cover. It is an interesting mix of songs that are well produced. The vocals vary but are punchy, gritty and strident throughout.
I really felt like I connected to Marianne Faithfull in this record. You can hear the years of pain, suffering, grief, defiance. I think her performance is captivating, and it helps that the music is so well produced, a really good example of this style, great guitars. The one track in the middle that sounds like an English folk tune, but with a different take on it production-wise… THAT I really liked. But it had me hooked from minute 1! Four stars!
This album is beautiful. I loved it's strange New Wave melodies. They feel lost somewhere nice between between punk and disco. With just a twist of kraut rock in the synths and percussion. I loved that the brutal honesty of Marianne's lyrics feel especially brutally honest in the unique voice and way of her singing. She is an amazing storyteller. "Witches' Song" might be my favorite. "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" and "Why'd You Do It" too. This is my first time ever hearing this album. And I'm so grateful for it. It feels really special.
Este ha sido un verdadero descubrimiento. Se agrega inmediatamente a la biblioteca y a la rotación.
First of all, 10/10 album cover. Faithfull's voice is incredibly haunting and she manages to be equal parts fragile and gritty (as on the closing track 'Why D'Ya Do It'). 'Broken English', 'Witches' Song', and 'Guilt' are all great, and 'The Ballad of Lucy Jordan' paints an all too clear imagery while borrowing a bit of melody from 'Desolation Row'. Also, her version of 'Working Class Hero' has been stuck with me since the first time i heard it. To me, it's the superior version. It really is a great record which, besides being carried by Faithfull's vocals, is driven by incredible guitar work. It's perfectly groovy, always in the background, but continuously pulsating and creating momentum.
As far as this new wave stuff goes, this is up there
So here's an interesting one... On my first listen, distracted and not fully engaged, I was pretty indifferent to this record. But I had an opportunity to listen again, more focused, and I was taken in. Reading a little about Faithfull's personal struggles, including her losing her voice, definitely put her singing and story in an entirely new perspective that made a difference in how I related to the material. I was less smitten with two of the songs that were among the top listens on Spotify, "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" and "Working Class Hero" (never a fave of mine). Everything else was very engaging in a strange way — it's hard-to-articulate what it is that's compelling. I'd say it's the entire package of songs, mood, production, and performance that coalesce. The closer is raw and aggressive in a way that must have been pretty shocking in 1979, the opener is provocative, and I enjoyed "Witches' Song" a lot. Along with all this, the 4-star rating speaks to my interest in listening to more, particularly the live album, "Blazing Away," and the following studio release, "A Secret Life," that features her working with Angelo Badalementi (who died in 2022 — https://blog.discmakers.com/2023/01/musicians-who-died-in-2022/).
This was my second listen. First time didn’t really grab me. This time through it was more impactful. The working class hero version stood out.
Worth it for ‘Why D'Ya Do It’, one of the nastiest, and best songs ever committed to tape, but pleasingly, ‘Broken English’ is full of highlights, such as the aforementioned track, the title track, ‘Guilt’ and ‘The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan’ to name a few. ‘Working Class Hero’ is the one cut that doesn’t work for me, the arrangement just falls flat. Apart from that one small blip though, the rest of ‘Broken English is excellent, and it’s an album everyone should have in their collection.
Portrait of the artist slowly turning into a vampire.
A fantastic mix of broody sass and attitude, an original punk heroine!
On first listen, not seeing the classic status. But her voice has a way of worming its way into your brain as it moves above the close-to-post-punk beats. Certainly could be a grower, but for now more interesting historically than musically.
Great songs, reminded me of blondie and I love that. The ballad of Lucy Jordan is my standout for sure.
I understood most of it, not so broken after all
I could take or leave the vocals, but I'd listen to an album of just the band grooving. Some fun, if somewhat forgettable songs here. Best track: The Ballad of Lucy Jordan