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Paloma Faith: Sad songs say so much

Paloma Faith on ‘Fall to Grace,’ and that other British soulstress who sings so well about heartbreak.

­With tabloids touting headlines like "Pregnant Adele's joy," you might find yourself thinking: "That's great that she's happy, but where am I gonna get my fix of sad songs sung by soulful British women?"

The answer to your checkout line musing is Paloma Faith's new album, "Fall to Grace." With lyrics like "This is agony, but it's still a thrill for me" and "Falling never hurts, but landing does" paired with classic soul song structures and shamelessly contemporary pop production, "Grace" is your latest soundtrack to heartache.

Faith, a tabloid fixture in her own right in the U.K., even helped Adele's career kick off.

"I just kind of gave her one of her first gigs," she says humbly. "I didn't give her her start. She gave herself her start."

Faith doesn't mind the comparisons: "If it was somebody who wasn't doing quite as well as her, I might feel strange. But honestly, if I could have a tenth of the success that she's had in the U.S. then I'd be smiling forever into my grave."

Smiling into the grave is what "Grace" is all about. Songs are hooky and polished, but a broken heart beats beneath.

"There were songs on the record that were produced to sound superhopeful, but when you listen to the lyrics they're sad," she says. "I wouldn't say it's a tragic record. I would say it's a realistic record."



Back to basics

With such a pop sheen, courtesy of producer Nellee Hooper, it's hard to believe that Paloma Faith will be bringing these songs to such small watering holes like TT the Bear's.

"It's very sort of back-to-basics for me," says Faith. "The venues are small, and I can't bring my full setup."

But she's not complaining.

"The bigger you get with the production, the less you can do with spontaneity," she says. "You've got to plan with the lighting people and plan with the sound engineer what you're going to do, whereas this is more stripped back."

 
 
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