Album Review: Paloma Faith – Infinite Things (2020)

Amidst a pandemic, health scares and a pregnancy, Paloma Faith is back with ‘Infinite Things’, her fifth album.

I’ve only over the summer got into Paloma’s music, primarily her third album, 2014’s ‘A Perfect Contradiction’. For some reason, I started to truly appreciate her baroque, 1960s-influenced sound only this year. However, on starting to listen to this album, I was struck by the slightly different tone. ‘Supernatural’ feels very early 2010s in it’s sound to me, as does ‘Monster’. I absolutely ‘Monster’ – it’s very catchy and rousing. I’ve already added it to my new music playlist.

‘Gold’ is the third track on the album, and my favourite single. Again, it sounds like it could have easily been released ten years – but it doesn’t sound as dated as you may expect from that description. Its funky bassline pulls the verses along into the positive-natured choruses which make this track a pure sing-along bop. I love the inclusion of a gospel choir into it – it adds an edge and also reminds the listener of the sound which made her so popular. ‘Falling Down’ opens with a electric organ synth which remains present throughout the track, which seems to give it an apocalyptic edge. The whole song seems a little pessimistic, but that’s not a bad thing. It seems to blend a few styles into one – the presence of a drum breakbeat in the chorus wasn’t fully expect. It’s the second most streamed of the album’s four singles, and I get why – it’s just a brilliant, classy track. I can’t see this being too popular with the general public in comparison with her other tracks, but I love it.

She seems more reflective on the album’s title track. The chorus urges the listener to appreciate life for what it is and enjoy the good bits while we have them. ‘If This Is Goodbye’ employs a similar, cautious opinion, although it is poppier, and sounds similar to the sort of thing Sia was releasing a few years ago. It is seemingly made for the conclusion of a sad film, or music for the John Lewis Christmas advert. At 4:44, it is bloated and a bit too long, but it seems to sum up much of the whole album. The next song is the lead single, ‘Better Than This’, which slots into the album well, but it sounds like the last two songs again and just as glum.

Much of the rest of the album seems to fall into the same category. “If Loving You Was Easy” stands out, with a dramatic piano, violin and choir combination creating a dramatic backing for Paloma’s rousing voice. ‘Living with a Stranger’ is another stand-out, with a funk/disco-esque bass and an echoing voice-filter, and in general is more upbeat than the rest of the album.

This is another solid collection of music from Paloma, but its singles far outweigh the rest of it, suggesting that she’s fallen into the trap of creating a selection of middling tracks to flesh out several brilliant singles. The second half of the album isn’t particularly interesting, but it’s musically really well put-together. Fans of Paloma will enjoy this album, although there’s not much new for more casual listeners to hear.

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