"Marianne Faithfull is so different from most of the other female singers I listen to. She sings in a low growl, doesn't have much range, but can convey more emotion in her delivery than just about anyone. On "A Secret Life", she displays a more tender side to her voice which is complimented greatly by Angelo Badalamenti's lushly orchestrated compostions. Some may feel it's a bit too mellow, but it's every bit as emotional as anything else I've heard from her over the years. This is a woman who has been to Hell and back more than once and has the voice to prove it, but she never comes off as a victim. She has only been a victim of herself and she has pointed that out in many interviews. For me, the standout track is "She". It's haunting, almost show tune like melody coupled with her lyrics and delivery make for one of the most memorable and sad ballads ever to cross the path of my ears"
Marianne's Chillout Phase
Scott T Mc Nally | 04/04/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Angelo Badalamenti is known for composing lush and haunting soundscapes that the Twin Peaks soundtrack and Julee Cruise emphasised so effectively in the past.Here his protege is none other than Ms.Faithfull,who gives his work yet another new direction.Combining bittersweet vocals with atmospheric and often gloomy tunes,Sleep,Flaming September,Losing and The Stars Line Up are chillingly beautiful. Marianne's torn voice tells us of despair and regret .The album's only sore point is The Wedding,which sounds rather irrelevant and out of place with the rest of the mood.On She,there's loneliness and self destruction while Bored By Dreams and Love In The Afternoon reconvey the gloom and sombre atmosphere. Overall if you're a fan of the whole Twin Peaks saga,then this album's a must.Just turn out the lights, pour a glass of wine and enjoy."
Think a more mellow "Broken English"
Scott T Mc Nally | 11/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marianne Faithfull is the goddess of dark music. With her distinctive voice and poetic lyrics, Marianne gives a voice to those who have been silenced. "A Secret Life" explores the dark side, like her 1979 magnum opus "Broken English," but not as in-your-face, and there's nary an expletive. The darkness of this disc is in Angelo Badalamenti's haunting, orchestral arrangements. "Sleep" will give you chills. "Flaming September" is powerful. "She" induces tears. "The Stars Line Up" and "Bored by Dreams" are my favorites. And the lyrics! A sample: "It is safe to walk with me/ Where you can read the sky and stars/Safe to walk upon the sea/In my sleep we can go far" (from "Sleep"). That's not just a song to listen to, that's a song to look at."
Beautiful Music - Depressing Lyrics
dev1 | Baltimore | 03/06/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
""A Secret Life" is a successful marriage of contrast: the lush and beautiful orchestral compositions of Angelo Badalamenti are interwoven with Faithfull's rough and raspy delivery. "Prologue" introduces the listener to Faithfull's not so secret life of alcohol and drugs. "Sleep" is foreboding - tales of loneliness and regret follow. The unfaithful wife makes "Love In The Afternoon" and depression is replaced by danger in "Losing." So filled with sorrow are "She," and "Losing" that they leave the listener with the pain of a knife being thrust into the heart.Not all of "A Secret Life" is so dark. "Bored By Dreams" (with its pounding rhythms and staccato strings) is uplifting, and "The Stars Line Up" shows some hope for romantic companionship. The problem with Badalamenti's compositions is a lack of diversity: the music is too similar. The only attempt to liven the score fails miserably. The funky dance tempo of "The Wedding" has no place on this disc.Faithfull deserves credit for risking a 180 degree about face after her last successful release. Get mellow, pour yourself a whiskey neat, and join Faithfull in her "Secret Life." You may just want to stay awhile."
Marianne Goes Mellow
dev1 | 08/23/1998
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A little too mellow I must say. I liked 'She' a lot, and I loved the story plot behind the song. I liked 'Flaming September' as well, but the best song had to be 'Bored By Dreams'. This is an easy going album by rock's fairy tale princess, Marianne Faithfull. It's not bad at all, just very mellow."