As the lead “Emo” in St Trinian’s, Paloma Faith scored herself a considerable amount of screen time, although I didn’t really notice her until she ditched the face-paint and piercings, and appeared as herself on an episode of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. According to Wikipedia, “as an ex-magician’s assistant, trained contemporary dancer, Leeds alumna with an MA in time based arts, a performer in burlesque show and dance club, and an actress, Paloma has been mixing artistic media throughout her adult life. A few years ago she introduced music into the equation, at first mimicking the blues and soul singers she admired, but eventually finding her own voice.” Um… except that “her own voice” sounds suspiciously like Amy Winehouse’s… not that that’s such a bad thing, of course. Still, it would be difficult to confuse the two because, as asserted in an overly harsh NME review of her debut album, Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?, Faith lacks the sneering, snarling and swearing swagger of her predecessor. True, that’s a large part of the appeal with Winehouse, but that doesn’t mean that Faith doesn’t have anything to offer, simply because she’s taken a sweeter, softer approach to White-Girl Soul.
Singles like “Stone Cold Sober” and “Upside Down” are hooky and charming enough on their own, but also benefit greatly from being seen as part of her overall performance. Faith isn’t “edgy”, by any stretch of the imagination, but she has chipper charm, quirky style, an easy smile, and a powerful set of pipes… plus she knows how to play to the camera/audience in ways that the typical NME-approved hipper-than-thou artists could never manage. Yes, maybe her show has more spectacle than scathing social commentary or political bluster, but what’s wrong with that? Pop music is a pretty broad church, and there’s plenty of room on our playlists for a little levity, isn’t there? And there’s always the outside chance she’ll fall under the spell of a sinister Luke Haines-esque svengali, who’ll have her singing about the Baader Meinhof Group and such… but until then, come to the cabaret, old chum!