Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful? is the debut album by English singer-songwriter Paloma Faith. It was released on 28 September 2009 by Epic Records. Its first two singles from the album, "Stone Cold Sober" and "New York", both peaked within the top twenty in the United Kingdom. The album spawned three more singles: "Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?", "Upside Down" and "Smoke & Mirrors".
The album received positive reviews from critics. Since its release, the album spent 106 weeks on the UK Albums Chart and peaked at number 9. It was announced on 25 June 2010 that the album had been certified Platinum with sales exceeding 300,000 copies. To promote the album Faith embarked her first concert Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful Tour in 12 February 2010 which visited Europe.
During her time at college, Faith worked in a pub where the manager asked her to front his band, which they later called 'Paloma and the Penetrators'. During a performance with the band at a cabaret show, Faith was scouted by an A&R man from Epic Records, who invited Faith to sing for the manager of the label. Twenty minutes into the audition, Faith asked the manager to turn his phone off and when he refused, she walked out. Epic A&R Joanna Charrington told HitQuarters "When she played a showcase for us it was clear that she was a star but the material was a bit generic. She didn't have the hit songs." Not being one hundred percent convinced the label executives decided to wait.
During this time Charrington regularly checked Faith's MySpace page "to see if she had something that had a special direction or sound." After several months her attention was eventually piqued by "Broken Doll", which she thought was a well-crafted song with a "fantastic chorus and brilliant lyrics." Charrington told Epic managing director Nick Raphael "I think we should get this girl back in. She sounds like she is getting it now. We can help her get the songs." Faith revealed in an interview that the manager called her and offered her a contract saying he had seen many acts since and none had been as memorable as her.
In the three years since Amy Winehouse’s phenomenally successful Back to Black, the UK charts have been assaulted by an array of soulful starlets chasing a little of the beehive-topped singer’s limelight. Some have been welcomed, some not ”“ here is not the place to name names. Instead, we celebrate the best artist yet in this post-Amy (and Blake, and everything else) field: Paloma Faith.
A native of Hackney, Faith arrives with some fantastically quirky baggage ”“ she’s got a degree in theatre direction, worked as a burlesque dancer not so many moons ago, and is soon to appear in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus after a turn in 2007’s St Trinian’s. It’s easy to be blinded by the girl’s CV, but it soon fades to circumstantial importance once the highlights of this debut album embed themselves in the listener’s head.
Faith’s voice is the first element of these sumptuous arrangements to strike, its idiosyncratic ticks and sharp inflections separating her from the pack in the same way as Duffy ”“ but while the Welsh star's vocals can lack a sincere conveyance of the emotions behind a song, Faith’s sentiments are never in doubt, even on the surprisingly underwhelming (in context) singles Stone Cold Sober and New York. The former sounds designed to soundtrack an advertisement ”“ successfully, as it turns out ”“ and the latter’s lamenting loses some of its edge when one’s unsure if the New York in question is a rival lover or, literally, the city that never sleeps. Whichever it is, it’s stolen our protagonist’s lover away.
Better is the Salt-N-Pepa-recalling Smoke and Mirrors ”“ it’s all in the “ooh-ahh”s ”“ which brings a greater degree of sultry attitude to the fore, and showcases Faith’s neat wordplay ”“ the cadence of her language is intermittently intoxicating in its breathlessness. Broken Doll plays rather too basic an analogy ”“ “I’m a broken doll / and you’re the puppeteer” ”“ but is retrieved from a descent into schmaltz by a cracking Bond-theme-worthy strings flourish in its final third. My Legs Are Weak is an accomplishedly bruised torch song of elegant melodrama, and Play On’s harpsichord stabs and dub-savvy percussion make for a sprightly rendering of elegiac expression.
Perhaps she’s playing up, acting out the role of a superlative pop-soul singer ”“ but whether the lines are predetermined or not, one can’t find much fault with Paloma Faith’s performance here. User Comments