Before The Poison - Marianne Faithfull

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Before The Poison isn’t flashy, and it’s likely to get overlooked, but it may just be the single best album Marianne Faithfull has ever put her name to.
  2. Before the Poison is poetic and unnerving; it stands alone in her catalog in the same way that Broken English did -- but this time, on the other side of the mirror.
  3. It is simply a stunning accomplishment.
  4. 86
    Her tragic musings finally receive the perfect accompaniment. [#14, p.105]
  5. [Harvey's] raw, blues-tinged tracks greedily indulge Faithfull's exquisitely tattered voice. [28 Jan 2005, p.84]
  6. 83
    The grimy, blues-black nuggets [PJ Harvey] pounds into armor for Faithfull are song-for-song stronger than Harvey's own 2004 album, Uh Huh Her.... But Cave's songs are a little too pitch-perfect. [Jan 2005, p.96]
  7. If anything this year's model raises the stakes on its predecessor.
  8. 80
    Probably the most potent album she's made since Broken English. [Nov 2004, p.102]
  9. This winning collaborative combination makes "Before the Poison" even stronger than its 2002 predecessor, "Kissin' Time," but with production and arrangements that are minimalist, dark and desolate.
  10. Before the Poison is a wonderful disc, the sound of a well-established artist continuing to grow and explore.
  11. She keeps good company these days, and it spills over into her music in the best way possible.
  12. This may not be a perfect album, but it is affecting and haunting.
  13. She etches out a style that is as feeble as it is vicious. And she owns it, her voice only an assurance of just how cool she really is.
  14. Harvey generally toils in the realm of cathartic release, but Faithfull mingles in her cabaret/chanteuse qualities to create a subdued tension. [23 Jan 2005]
  15. Skip ["Last Song" and "Desperanto"], and you've something very much like a classic. [9 Oct 2004, p.57]
  16. 70
    A classic work...together [her collaborators] have created a near perfect, and wonderfully paced, stage for the singer. [Oct 2004, p.112]
  17. The worthiest addition yet to her legendary status. [Nov 2004, p.119]
  18. Faithfull's most stylistically cohesive album for some time.
  19. Most of the songs are elegiac, and Ms. Faithfull infuses them with desolate memories. [31 Jan 2005]
  20. Though Poison is uneven, with all the warmth of a winter night, Faithfull's rasp and limited vocal range are stylish enough to carry her through.
  21. 60
    Faithfull could use more stories to work with: she's a better singer of narratives than exotic phrases. [Mar 2005, p.140]
  22. When the songs work – it's some of the best material Faithfull has ever produced. But when they don't – you're left... falling asleep in the car.
  23. The five tracks penned and played on by PJ Harvey... reverberate with all the dark, elastic abrasion of PJ's best work. [#248, p.66]
  24. Unless you dig Nick's poetry, grab the Polly songs and run.
  25. The combination often proves too bleak.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. Mack
    Feb 23, 2006
    Songs where her voice is "bleeding" are magnificent. The rest is just OK.
  2. TimQ
    Sep 1, 2005
    This is the best album she has done since "Broken English". Both of course are excellent !!
  3. VeikkoE
    Jul 6, 2005
    Simply the most rewarding Faithfull album in years! Whilst most of her 1960's peers are humping along embarrasingly on the oldies circuit, Faithfull truly reinvents herself with astonishing brilliance. Full Review »