A Secret Life (album)

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A Secret Life
Marianne Faithfull - A Secret Life.jpg
Studio album by Marianne Faithfull
Released 21 March 1995 (1995-03-21)
Recorded 1994
  • Excalibur Sound
  • National/Edison Recording Studio
  • (New York City, New York)
Length 35:00
Label Island
Producer Angelo Badalamenti
Marianne Faithfull chronology
Blazing Away
A Secret Life
20th Century Blues
Singles from A Secret Life
  1. "Bored by Dreams"
    Released: 1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[1]
Billboard (positive)[2]
Entertainment Weekly B[3]
Robert Christgau (neither)[4]
Spin 4/10[5]

A Secret Life is the twelfth studio album by English singer Marianne Faithfull. It was released on 21 March 1995 by Island Records. The album marked her first studio release composed mostly of original material in over a decade. Faithfull collaborated with American composer Angelo Badalamenti after his work on the television series Twin Peaks. Influenced by her interest in classical music, A Secret Life was a musical departure from her previous work and displayed a more tender side to her voice. Something that would later serve as inspiration for her next album The Seven Deadly Sins (1998).

Faithfull also worked with Irish poet and her longtime friend Frank McGuinness and used some of his poems in the songs "Sleep" and "The Wedding". Musically, A Secret Life is an alternative rock album which was inspired by classical music and also incorporates elements of blues. The songs deal with themes such as broken relationship on "She" or secret love affair on "Love in the Afternoon".

A Secret Life received mixed reviews from music critics. Released only months after her successful autobiography Faithfull: An Autobiography and compilation album Faithfull: A Collection of Her Best Recordings (1994), the album was a commercial failure. "Bored by Dreams" was the only single released from the album and also failed to chart.

Critical reception[edit]

A Secret Life received generally mixed reviews from music critics. Richie Unterberger at AllMusic gave it three stars out of five, claiming that "Faithfull is still in rippingly fine voice, and her words still penetrate". However, he criticized Badalamenti's orchestral arrangements and noted that "while they can be effectively noirish, they can also create an inappropriately cold and detached ambience". He described the songs "Flaming September" and "She" as standout tracks.[1]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Prologue" 2:03
2. "Sleep" 3:43
3. "Love in the Afternoon"
  • Faithfull
  • Badalamenti
4. "Flaming September"
  • Faithfull
  • Badalamenti
5. "She"
  • Faithfull
  • Badalamenti
6. "Bored by Dreams"
  • Faithfull
  • Badalamenti
7. "Losing"
  • Badalamenti
  • David Foreman
  • Duke Levine
8. "The Wedding"
  • Faithfull
  • Badalamenti
  • McGuinness
9. "The Stars Line Up"
  • Faithfull
  • Badalamenti
10. "Epilogue"
Total length: 35:00



  • Marianne Faithfull – vocals
  • Carmine D'Amico – guitar
  • Vinnie Bell – guitar, mandolin
  • Gene Orloff – violin
  • Alfred Brown, Julien Barber, Lamar Alsop, Ann Barak, Mitsue Takayama, Kenneth Fricker, Juliet Haffner, Harry Zaratzian – viola
  • Frederick Zlotkin, Clay Ruede, Beverly Lauridsen, Julie Green – cello
  • Al Regni, Pamela Sklar, Lawrence Feldman – flute, alto flute
  • Shelly Woodworth, Sherry Sylar – oboe, oboe d'amore
  • Andre Badalamenti – clarinet
  • Robert Carlisle – French horn
  • Kinny Landrum, Angelo Badalamenti – keyboards
  • Rufus Reid, Mark Egan - bass
  • Sam Merendino, Gordon Gottlieb – drums, percussion


  1. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "A Secret Life - Marianne Faithfull". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Verna, Paul; Gillen, Marilyn (1 April 1995). "Album Reviews: Marianne Faithfull - A Secret Life". Billboard. Nielsen N.V. 107 (13): 56. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Mirkin, Steven (24 March 1995). "A Secret Life". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1995). "Robert Christgau: CG: Marianne Faithfull". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Press, Joy (April 1995). "Spins: Marianne Faithfull - A Secret Life". Spin. SpinMedia. 11 (1): 200. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 

External links[edit]