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Paloma Faith - 'Stone Cold Sober'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:43 UK time, Friday, 19 June 2009

Paloma FaithAs Ms. Faith is clearly enjoying one of those Jared Leto-style joint careers, split between music and film/stage work, it's tempting to conclude that she's actually been cast by a record label to play a kind of cleaned-up, less troublesome version of...well let's just call her A Well-Known Tattooed Singing Star, shall we? Saves all that undignified finger pointing.

Aside from the fact that 'Stone Cold Sober' is more of a uptempo rockin' raveup than it is an old school soul resurrection (with desperate lyrics, let us not forget), there are a LOT of little clues scattered through this endeavour which suggest Paloma is being sold as a sequel to a very successful franchise.

Not that this is a blot against her talent, I should add. It's just interesting to see THE MARKETING at work...

(Here's the video. A debauched drama student party in a scary gothic theatre...with well-marked fire exits. Fun AND safe!)

Actually, who wants to play a game? See how many of the following things you can find, and mark them off your checklist. If you get them all, Paloma wins some "credibility as an artist", and the marketing team get a bonus, or a lolly. Something nice, anyway.

1: Lady with jazzy voice belting out pop songs.

2: Supremes verses.

3: Tattoos.

4: Lots of parping brass. Production by Son Of Ronson, or Ronsonson...

5: Song about not overdoing things, chemically speaking. Just say no, no, no.

6: Tinkly breakdown, for emoting over.

7: Scruffy hair.

8: Vintage dress. Actually several vintage-style dresses - one amazing one looks like a cross between a suit of armour and an umbrella - and some burlesque underthings, which deviates from the template a little, but then everyone is doing a bit of burlesque these days. I'm surprised the uniforms at McDonalds don't come with their own ostrich feathers, frankly.

I tell you something else, that drummer needs to work out what he's doing in the bridge between the verses and choruses. It makes the song sag like old pants.

All in all, this is more Phantom Menace than Empire Strikes Back, and not just because Jar Jar Binks and A Well-Known Tattooed Singing Star share a certain je ne sais quoi...

Three starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: June 15th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Beat Review says: "Her enigmatic, fantasy-like visual style is astounding."
Culch.Ie says: "It sounds "big". That was my immediate reaction."

PS: Here's Paloma performing magic on this week's Chart Show.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

PPS: Who would like to see Paloma do her stuff for Dermot O'Leary's Radio 2 show? ALL of you? Lovely.


  • Comment number 1.

    I think you have been a bit hard on this girl !! She has been doing gigs for over 4 years now and would be first to recognise that there are lots of talented people out there ! but does there have to be just the ONE ! Paloma has a unique theatrical approach to her performance because of her MA in theatre , maybe you should catch a show !! Also havent you noticed that all artists are influenced by each other its inevitable look at the impressionists !!
    As for the marketing looks as though they have been influenced by Paloma its all very theatrical down to the cd cover ! Go to her myspace to hear more !

  • Comment number 2.

    Wow, another "new " female artist just about to grace the charts !

    Fraser and reviews, I can totally understand both your viewpoints.

    This song is so huge in sound , with a big chorus and huge commercial appeal that it almost topped the airplay chart, even before it's official release.

    It is certain to be a top 20 hit and may even crack the top ten.

    Fantastic production , allowing both voice and instumentation to soar at just the right times. A really good song.

    However, this sounds like the James Bond theme that Amy and Mark might have made for Quantum of Solace, ( before circumstances took over ! ) right down to the orchestral stabs in the intro. This is a huge compliment to "Stone cold sober ".

    Paloma used to be a magicians assistant ,and her album will be called "Do you want the truth or something beautiful ? "

    With over half of this weeks top twenty, being hits by female artists , in which most they have co-written, and with more joining next week, you could argue that this is a great time for female singer/songwriters.

  • Comment number 3.

    Yeah, because "reviews" clearly isn't Ms Paloma/her marketing team. Seriously, "MA in theatre", get lost. How is that relevant? Also, there's a difference between influence and downright copies: U2 INFLUENCED the Killers, Paloma COPIES Amy Winehouse (look, I said it). If you want to hear more of my rant, check out my myspace!

  • Comment number 4.

    to catman 231 . MA in theatre is relevant to Paloma Faiths performance and i am someone who has been to the shows !!Have you ? She uses theatre in the performances !David bowie did that alot ! I am not Palomas marketing team but someone who likes watching her shows ! There are quite a few of us !
    To all Amy Whinehouse die hard fans ( and by the way I think she is amazing !) I would say maybe you should be more sympathetic to her situation instead of booing her off stage which seems to have happened recently.People are so tough in this world as is shown by rants on the internet ..............
    There are loads of artists out there cant like them all but why bother to pick on them .......

  • Comment number 5.

    Yeah , here is another game to play, which if done well, makes everyone a whole lot of money...

    You have the real star, the real breath of fresh air, the real talent , the real pain-ridden and sorow soaked talent that has the voice , the stories , the life that created a millions of column inches, the one who goes on to sell over 3 million albums in the U.K , is a household name , and the most recognised female star that the U.K has produced for years.

    Sadly this star, has to take time out of public life,, which leaves a huge window of opportunity.......

    I have seen first hand, how clever A and R, record companies and marketing teams are.
    I am talking genius here.
    With the original star recovering, and the public having loved that persons work, and basically begging for more, someone can "suddenly" emerge that fits the bill , and before you know it they can encourage the fans of the previous star to become fans of the new star., so long as enough boxes are ticked, and the product is good. The result is lots of albums are bought.
    (Please read Fraser's review )
    This happens in pop music all the time , and it is an absolute testament to original star, that record companies have obviously noticed her semi " retirement " and have attempted to fill that very lucrative void with " quality " female singers.

    P.S . With Girls aloud having a well earnt rest , this leaves a gap for another all girl band to fill the void.
    We will now see the Saturdays attempt to do this, but for this , they will need great, great songs to match the achievements of the Girls and Xenomania and the excellent Brian Higgins.

  • Comment number 6.

    Reviews , Paloma Faith has a huge hit on her hands with "Stone cold sober ".
    It is a good song, sang and produced well, but obviously very reminiscent of a well loved "recovering " star.

    As you seem to know Paloma's material well , can you let everyone here know what her forthcoming album is like.

    Stand out tracks, different styles, give us as much information as you can.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think people should make their own minds up by visiting Paloma Faiths myspace page . I myself find her a very different performer because of her energy on stage . People like who they like ! I loved Marilyn Monroe but I still loved Jane Russell ! Nobody ever sits down and copies anybody else but collective consciousness exists its inevitable ! I think its great there are all these female vocalists out there - last time this happened was the 60s !! Amy Whinehouse opened it up for girls again there will never be anyone like her but there is space for other artists to emerge

  • Comment number 8.


    Well I have been to Paloma Faith's MySpace page and it upset my computer. The larger images and the CSS used made the hamster wheel spin off its pegs. Now there is sawdust all over the room and Paloma Faith spewing out the speakers everywhere. Thanks very much!

    Still, quite right Reviews and Spirit, (should be the name of an off licence) where there is an AW shaped gap there will be an AW shaped beehive to fill it, as has always happened. Look at all the Fabians/Billy Furys who popped up when Elvis went in the army.

    (May be wrong on timing there forgive my tender ears - if it wasn't Fabian and Billy Fury it was someone similar.)

    This song is indeed BIG, and the only real problem for me is that I just felt a bit "OK, Yeah and So What?" about it. The voice is excellent, far less annoying than Duffy and similar in grit to Amy's. But Fraser has a point: The Drums Don't Work.

    My feeling is that I have soulful female singer ennui now and would like some more It Bites please.


  • Comment number 9.

    You are right of course , people are free to like or dislike whatever music they like.

    There is so much great music out there.

    Music is to be enjoyed !

  • Comment number 10.

    Calling all the heroes !

    Ha ha... wasn't " The drums don't work " a number one for The Verve ?

    Love that new band you mentioned...

    "Elvis went in the army "

    The American camp(er) version of Frankie goes to Hollywood !

  • Comment number 11.

    Camper?! Camper than Frankie Goes to Hollywood!

    That I would love to see...

    What could be camper?

    "Sting goes to Margate"

    "Chico Goes off in a Hissy Fit"

    "Hilary Duff strops off in her jodphurs"


    "Eoghan Quigg goes off in his pants"

    For instance...

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh Dear.

    I just realised what I said there..

    I meant "trousers" of course, not pants...


  • Comment number 13.

    I hope the critic above and the critical commenters watched the radio 2 videos of paloma faith performing on the dermot Oleary show - if they cant see what a great performer she is then I need glasses !! and as to her sounding anything like amy whinehouse then i need a hearing aid !! This girl will prove you all wrong !!

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Reviews, I thought Paloma came across really well with Fearne AND Reg on the chart show . Witty, sexy and knowledgeable.

    She will also soon be appearing in a film with Johnny Depp and the late Heath Ledger.

    I have not met her , but she seems like someone I would like to see live.

    Certainly one to watch !

  • Comment number 15.

    I've put links to the Radio 2 videos above, just under the blog text, so everyone can make their own minds up.

  • Comment number 16.

    Excellent work Fraser.

    Paloma's take on my favourite, Eurthymic's song is great.

    I can see that Edith Piaf is one of Paloma's influences.

    There is obviously no escaping the AW comparisons... but let's be honest , AW is having a long holiday to hopefully come back stronger , and if she sees these videos of someone with a good voice, a clutch of good songs and lots of charisma, who is gonna wear her crown for a while , as she recovers , I hope this is the REAL wake up call she needs !

    Paloma is doing it NOW !
    Good luck to her , she has the talent to shine .

    AW , it's time to start writing the best songs of your life , and come back invincible !

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi everyone - am pleased to see the link for radio 2 introduces is here . Palomas song do you want the truth or something beautiful is my favourite !!

    The problem with the british music scene its so hard to really make it because of all the history and legends we have . I still dont think Paloma is anything like Amy Whinehouse or even aspires to be . Think she will be happy if she can make a living out of performing and I wish her all the luck in the world . She is a bit like Rod Stewart and has performed in clubs for a long time doing covers. He once said best advice to any performer never give up !She didnt !
    Maybe critics should be more encouraging of new artists - advice yes .
    I read a review of Bats for Lashes recently and it was cruel !! I hope she didnt read it as that girl is very talented .
    I watched Paloma talk about her british song book choice where she talks about competition and how you should try not to get into that in music I found that refreshing !!
    Best wishes to everyone the public will make its mind up .................

  • Comment number 18.

    "A Well-Known Tattooed Singing Star"

    Jordin Sparks? About time there was a cleaner version of that nasty pottymouth. :)

  • Comment number 19.

    "I thought Paloma came across really well with Fearne AND Reg on the chart show . Witty, sexy and knowledgeable."

    Paloma is indeed very witty, sexy and knowledgeable, however it is only fair to mention that up against that particular competition, the mouse that my cat brought home in pieces this afternoon would appear witty, sexy and knowledgeable.


  • Comment number 20.

    Aha , Jax you totally get it.

    Please do not start me about the Sunday Chart Show , and how much better it should be !

    It is the most important radio show, as it reveals the most important information in the industry.

    It should be the greatest radio show on the airwaves .

    It should be.....

  • Comment number 21.

    I love music with a passion... as you can all tell ,but listening to the Sunday chart show is so difficult and frustrating. There are so many things that would make it better! It is the absolute jewel for Radio 1, and it should be the greatest show on radio !

    Yes , I have many positive ideas.

    Maybe another time.....

  • Comment number 22.

    If you want music with a passion you should all have gone to see Paloma Faith live at the ICA last night!! Electrifying !! This girl knows how to perform ! Not many artists can ........

  • Comment number 23.

    Yeah, you're right, and to fully support your point, I'm going to list some artists/acts that don't know how to perform:
    The Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Editors, Bloc Party, Cribs, Young Knives, Vampire Weekend, Lily Allen, Elbow, Muse, Blur, Maximo Park, the list goes on .......

  • Comment number 24.

    .... The Wurzels, Susan Boyle, Terry and June, Zebedee off the Magic Roundabout, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Starship, Neil Innes and Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson....

  • Comment number 25.

    ....shares in Woolworths, Slide Rulers, Uwe Boll in the ring, Japanese Puffer Fish when eaten by Japanese Businessmen, my toaster, Eric Clapton on Ukelele, Margot Fontaine, Jellyfish when asked to tapdance....

  • Comment number 26.

    ... shy schoolchildren in Nativity Plays, unexcited stallions, Microsoft Office when you ask it to do the simplest of tasks, thirty year old Texas Instruments calculators, C4OD player, chipmunks in general and the Snap part of Snap Crackle and Pop.

  • Comment number 27.

    Well my sarcasm detector TM which has been mentioned before has now gone fully into overdrive, after all, you mentioned the wurzels, who are of course an impressive live act, implying sarcasm on your part. However, you also mention Microsoft... (I love elipsis)

  • Comment number 28.

    ... Yes, the wurzels are only in there because any list is better with the wurzels in it, it is just an inherently funny word.

    Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Wurzels, Deuteronomy......

    The rest are all, i think, things that don't know how to perform.... I may be a bit harsh on kid creole, but again, just funny...

  • Comment number 29.

    Don' t know about you guys... but I am off to form a new band called ...

    The Unexcited Stallions !

    Our first single out in September will be called...

    I'm no stud ! (Don't saddle up ! )

    It comes with a bonus track called...

    "No horseplay "

    The album ...

    " I don't wanna ride " is out in October.

  • Comment number 30.

    Pint of milk
    Half a dozen eggs
    24 pack of crisps
    Loaf of bread (white)
    The Wurzels
    Apple juice

    Yeah, I see what you mean.

  • Comment number 31.

    Our acts who don't know how to perform...

    Foo fighters , Red Hot Chilli Peppers , Arcade Fire , Shirley Bassey , Tom Jones , U2 , REM , The rolling stones , Interpol , Coldplay , Led Zeppelin , Friendly fires , Glasvegas, Bruce Springsteen , Florence and the machine...

    You are right Catman.... the list does indeed go on...

  • Comment number 32.

    Catman - make sure they're free range wurzels.

  • Comment number 33.

    All a bit over the top ! I bet you are all men sarcasm rife ! But maybe count how many women in your lists . I had been to six gigs recently where no one could perform and so found Palomas gig refreshing that was all !! wouldnt take it too serioiusly .

  • Comment number 34.

    "All a bit over the top" thats pretty rich coming from little miss 'check out her myspace' (I'm guessing you're female from the particularly condescending and to be honest, slightly unnecessary suggestion that both I and indeed Thranjax are sexist. That is not the case, unless Thranjax turns out to be some hideous chauvinist ;-) )

  • Comment number 35.

    OK... women who can perform live...

    1) Duffy
    2)Florence and the machine
    3)Chrissie Hynde
    4) Lady Gaga
    5) Christina Aguilera
    6)Hayley Williams
    7)Lily Allen
    8)Shirley Bassey
    9)Avril Lavigne
    11)Debbie Harry
    12)Tina Turner
    13 ) The Ting tings

    Reviews , I have witnessed many great performers .

    I think the point you are making is that you are a huge Paloma Faith fan, and that you feel that she is an exceptional performer.

    I like your passion... I know how you feel when someone comes along and moves you.. and you wanna share it with the world....

    Good times !

  • Comment number 36.

    I am sure Palomo is a good live performer , but music is a huge topic that spans many performers , skills and talents , and we must all respect that others have different tastes and preferences.

  • Comment number 37.

    dear spiritmaster
    I have seen some of the singers you mention but didnt think they were all great on stage !Great voices yes .
    Maybe they had an off gig !
    These are women I have seen perform and who in my view were absoloutely amazing !
    Tina turner
    Eartha kitt ( still incredible at 80 )
    Nina Simone - Even towards the end she could captivate an audience I saw her last gig at Ronnie Scotts.
    Erica Badu
    Annie lennox
    Imelda may
    camille O sullivan
    Shingai from the Noisettes incredible on stage
    VV Brown - not given much of a chance by the critics but great performer
    Baby Sol

    There are lots of men I like too and have seen live but wont get into that. cant be bothered to write here any more ! You are obviously very nice but wether Catman likes it or not he only mentioned one woman !!
    I hope Paloma goes abroad it might be easier !! Eartha Kitt sang in ten languages I know Paloma speaks at least two so maybe thats a better bet .
    happy listening I am off to see Leonard Cohen in liverpool now theres a great performer !!

  • Comment number 38.

    Yes spiritmaster I understand people have different tastes and views ,the difference for me is that if I am not attracted to an artist I dont need to attack them . I know only too well how hard it is in this industry and good luck to anyone who can make a living in it.
    Thats all.

  • Comment number 39.

    Enjoy Leonard Cohen...
    You list some great singers , but remember all the artists that the Catman likes is up to the Catman to decide...

    That is the Cat's personal choice , like mine is mine and yours is yours.

    We like who we like , and race , sex or colour should not matter, we should all respect each others tastes.

    Do come back and blog , I wanna know how good Leonard Cohen was.......

  • Comment number 40.


    I am not sure how we get from me saying Jellyfish can't tapdance to me being sexist...

    Count how many women in my life?

    OOOHH, loads, one to do the washing, one chained to the kitchen sink, one dressed as a naughty chauffeur to drive me to the Club, one to do the gardening, and one up my ladders right now cleaning out my gutters.


  • Comment number 41.

    Lmao Thranjax ;-) same to you Spiritleader, or is Spiritprotector, or Spiritfighter ???

  • Comment number 42.

    Hello Catwoman !

    Hey , I quite like Spirit Master... it's like I have been promoted from Spirit Warrior !

    I hope you are busy listening to your varied c.d collection !

  • Comment number 43.

    I know fine well that you were implying that FEMALE jellyfish can't tapdance. You're all the same, you lot.


    Incidentally, I really like this song. Just a thought.

  • Comment number 44.

    This is a music blog and you have the nerve to simply say that you like a song.. unbelievable ;-)


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