Newest Review: ... conformed to a generic female soul singer mould, and has lost a lot of her individuality. Ballads such as the mediocre Beauty of the End an... more
Losing my faith in Paloma
Fall To Grace - Paloma Faith
Member Name: AbsintheFairy
Fall To Grace - Paloma Faith
Advantages: Paloma's voice, pleasant atmospheric background music
Disadvantages: Not as strong as her first CD
I really liked Paloma Faith's 2009 album 'Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful', so when she returned with a new CD in Spring 2012 I was pretty excited. Unfortunately the album didn't live up to my expectations.
Paloma's rich, soulful voice is still here, and it sounds just as good as ever. Unfortunately the songs themselves aren't generally that great. There's none of the spark of Upside Down or the quirkiness of the last album's title track. Instead, we are presented with a chain of ballads that veer towards the dreary.
Lead single Picking Up the Pieces is a reasonable but not particularly memorable ballad; it isn't exactly a bad song but it lacks the charm and the individuality of the songs on the previous album. Paloma seems to have to conformed to a generic female soul singer mould, and has lost a lot of her individuality. Ballads such as the mediocre Beauty of the End and repetitive Agony didn't make much of an impact on me, and the chorus of the former song actually rather irritates me.
Black & Blue is a kind of social commentary, in which Paloma looks beneath the surface of various characters and sings about their issues. It's an admirable sentiment but it sounds wrong coming from her. The song isn't particularly great either. 30 Minute Love Affair is a passable effort but again, it strikes me as rather dull.
Not all the songs on Fall to Grace are so bad. Just Be is a stripped-back piano track which bored me on first listen but has grown on me; its simplicity is its strength and Paloma's voice is showcased to its best effect. Let Me Down Easy has a smoky club atmosphere and a Peggy Lee-like jazz rhythm. Blood, Sweat and Tears is one of the more uptempo songs on the album, with a retro dance beat. Let Your Love Walk In is a ballad, but in my opinion better than many of the others on the album, being more distinctive and memorable.
Unusually for an album, things actually get better towards the end. Freedom is an upbeat, catchy song with a sophisticated rhythm, while closing track Streets of Glory ends the CD with a flourish. It is dramatic and displays better than any other song on the album Paloma's theatrical nature.
I read several reviews of this record on Amazon, many of which slated the album; I admit I shared their opinion at first. I was very disappointed the first time I listened to it and found it very hard to pick out any standout tracks. After several listens, the album started to grow on me to a certain extent and while it by no means compares to Paloma's first album, and I still tend to listen to it as background music rather than anything else, I don't dislike it as much as I did.
This album was - and is - a disappointment to me, but I've stuck with it and my opinion has certainly improved from what it was. If you liked Paloma's quirky, individual debut album this may disappoint you, but if you consider it on its own merits, and give it some time, you may grow to enjoy it.
1. Picking Up the Pieces
2. 30 Minute Love Affair
3. Black & Blue
4. Just Be
5. Let Me Down Easy
6. Blood, Sweat & Tears
7. Beauty of the End
8. When You're Gone
10. Let Your Love Walk In
12. Streets of Glory
Summary: Disappointing second album from Paloma Faith