This is the most franks song of Marianne Faithfull’s relation towards her pretty face. Falling from grace is the threat of all idolized figures. She longed to free herself from being an idol on a pedestal. If that meant losing everything, so be it. With nothing to lose there’s nothing to fear. Faithfull may have packed her pretty image away, but it freed her to explore more creative depths than she was allowed before. Interestingly enough, she’s now swung full circle to being the very toddy and genteel figure she was in the sixties, pre-Jagger. She was presented in the beginning as a slightly hoity-toity convent girl who sang lilting folk songs, and with her demure demeanor and evident book smarts her image was rather ‘English teatime’. Then of course came her part in the ongoing adventures of The Rolling Stones, and subsequent fall from grace – a splat heard around the world. She recreated herself as a drug-fueled punk pariah when she made albums like Broken English and A Child’s Adventure. Definitely not a safe or desirable persona. Since then she’s tackled stage and screen, embraced cabaret, waltzed with the Weill songbook, and became an all-around grand old dame of the music hall. She’s earned her reputation as one of the finest interpretive singers of our time – her beyond-the-crypt voice brings makes songs old and new spring to life in fresh light. Now she’s got a brand new album out, Horses And High Heels. It sounds, god bless ‘er, like a Marianne Faithfull album, replete with a few covers, a few rockers, and lots of smoke-infused ballads. This is the thinking person’s cafe music. She’s a revered matron of the arts, she sings standards and folk songs in her own particular idiom, she’s almost her own genre by now. And it occurs to me, she’s become, against all odds, an older version of the girl who sat and watched as tears went by in 1964.