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Album Review: Paloma Faith – The Glorification of Sadness

3 min read

The sixth studio album that Paloma Faith has released, The Glorification of Sadness, was assured to take a creative direction that her previous albums had not.  Faith, who in 2022 split from long term partner Leyman Lachine, had gone on record that she was nervous to see how the LP was received by the public, as the contents were “pretty personal”.  The album itself, released through Sony & RCA, is comprised as a chronology of the stages of grief that Faith went through during her breakup, and was likely to give the album a more solemn feel that previous albums.

Opening proceedings Sweatpants is an acoustic guitar-led track about the fears of showing the ‘real you’ in relationships early on, followed by the January single release Pressure – a down tempo hip-hop beat that features bars from Kojey Radical.  Quite self-focussed, covering pressures of one side of holding things together – doesn’t really work for me.  God in a Dress has a contemporary (read ‘too busy’) bluesy feel to it.  A song about female empowerment (doesn’t resonate with me obviously), whilst How You Leave a Man was the first single to be released on the album – a pop/dance track about the end of a relationship with a feminine liberation vibe… again, one that I’m probably not the target audience.

A short, verbal, church sermon-style spoken prose dominates There’s Nothing More Human Than Failure (replete with gospel choir backing) leads swiftly to second release Bad Woman, which the gospel backing continues, and a pop meets hip-hop beat.  Cry on the Dance Floor follows, with a mash of a Disclosure-type deep house beats and lyrics about hiding in the noise of a club floor.  Comparisons to Robyn’s Dancing On My Own are obvious thematically, though this is angrier.  Switching back to down tempo dance beats and gospel choir backing, Say My Name is not one for the annals of time.  This is followed by Let It Ride, which almost feels like a track at the crescendo of a rock opera, and, personally, doesn’t flow well with its placement in this album.

Another short verbal track, The Big Bang Ending, eulogises over ‘death by a thousand cuts’ endings to relationships, and this leads to, in my opinion, the standout track of the album, Eat Shit and Die.  This is as true to what I consider to be a classic Paloma Faith track to be on the album – crude, rude & foulmouthed lyrics, done to a swing beat with a huge grin on your face whilst you sing along.  Divorce is a slow, remorseful ballad, followed by the heavier Hate When You’re Happy – vengeful, angry lyrics to a slower synth beat.  The Next track, Enjoy Yourself, fails to excite, with what feels like a lifted Massive Attack beat, while I Am Enough has a lullaby swing beat to go with this self-love (no, not THAT kind of self-love) track.  Penultimate short spoken poetic track Mirror to Mirror leads to orchestral-backed ballad Already Broken, which rounds off proceedings.

The Glorification of Sadness is a divorce/separation/breakup album – It’s Paloma Faith’s 30.  The difference between this and Adele’s offering is that the latter felt less… gendered.  A lot of The Glorification of Sadness is centred on female empowerment and strong femininity, both topics I’m never going to be an expert on/enjoy.  Moreover, I’d say the album is a touch long (about 10 minutes too long if I’m honest), but how can you put time constraints on the chronological telling of person’s breakup??  I’m probably not going to be adding many of these tracks to my playlist… the one exception being “Eat Shit and Die”, which I found a thoroughly enjoyable.