REVIEW: Paloma Faith doesn’t wallow in ‘The Glorification of Sadness’

Paloma Faith, The Glorification of Sadness

Paloma Faith, “The Glorification of Sadness.”

English actress and pop artist Paloma Faith rips open her heart on her sixth album, The Glorification of Sadness. These 17 songs are a deep dive into messy, dizzying emotions as she’s learning to rely on herself.

The Glorification of Sadness
Paloma Faith

RCA/The Orchard, Feb. 16
Get the album on Amazon Music.

Paloma Faith Blomfield’s soul-searching is filled with introspection and chaotic waves of emotions that follow the end of a relationship that obviously meant a lot to her, as well as navigating the storm alone.

Martin-Wave-produced single “How You Leave A Man” dives in with Adele-like vigor—it sounds an awful lot like “Rolling in the Deep”—that sets the tone. “Pack up all your clothes/ Car is full of cash/ Head on down the road/ No, no, no/ Creepin’ on the low/ Don’t give another chance,” she belts to the four-on-the-floor dance beat and screeching guitar stabs.

Album opener “Sweatpants” begins with waves of acoustic guitar strums and immediately swelling strings. “Will you still love me with my heels off?/ When I’m old and no longer young?/ Will you still love me when I’m crazy and undone?” Paloma Faith ponders, bringing rawness to her over-thinking spiral.

“Pressure” sounds drastically different, with Paloma Faith singing against a techno-like electronic percussion loop. Grime rapper Kojey Radical joins for a few bars before she reenters about crumbling to both outside and inner forces trying to box her in.

“Bad Woman” is a glorious moment of confidence and self-love with a rich clarity. The verses tell a detailed story of mistakes made—”Picture perfect house of cards/ Call me joker, call it art/ I threw the dice and gambled it away/ Not saying that it didn’t hurt/ I paid my duty, bet the curse/ I broke in two to learn to be apart”—while the chorus rises to declarative statements of overcoming: “I’m not a good girl/ I’m a bad woman.” Full of bravado, the song is an early album climax.

But she’s just getting started.

“Cry on the Dance Floor” is club banger full of slick synths and crisp drum fills. But the lyrics seemingly tell a much darker story. Beautiful orchestral ballad “Divorce” digs deeper into heavy topics. And yet, “Eat Shit and Die” takes on a snarky, humorous personality not unlike something by fellow Brit Lily Allen or maybe Meghan Trainor. The mesh of pop and doo-wop (or Northern Soul) goes hand-in-hand with her harmonies as she tells an ex-lover, “I’m not here for your pleasure; I’m working on me.”

Even loungy 37-second interlude “Mirror to Mirror,” the the penultimate number, doesn’t take up space, creating a brief respite and moment to think as Paloma Faith compares the glow of being in love again with a ray of light coming through a window: “I had been sitting in the dark for so many years when the cracks started to open/ The light flooded in, and my eyes were squinting because I couldn’t see well anymore/ Starved of love or light or touch.”

“Already Broken” provides a profound and melodramatic end, taking listeners through her missteps, as well as those of her partner, being resolute in the fact that ultimately, both were at fault. Most importantly, there’s no sugarcoating going on here. These are raw emotions without a happy ending.

“Every time we love and lose we shed some pieces…/ I’m falling in slow motion/ Damaged but I’m hoping/ ‘Cause I’m already broken,” Paloma Faith sings.

The beauty of The Glorification of Sadness is in showing the work it takes to get oneself out of such a place, and how reflection can hopefully lead to something better. The reward is finding yourself.