Negative Capability is the most emotionally powerful of her 54-year recording career. Facing down arthritis and bolstered by collaborators including Warren Ellis, Nick Cave, Rob Ellis, Ed Harcourt and Mark Lanegan, Negative Capability is charged with brutal honesty and autobiographical reflection as she addresses losing old friends, her loneliness living in her adopted city of Paris, and love.
Driven by her supernatural reinterpretative skills, florid lyricism, battle against the pain she lives with, and realised with her stellar group of musicians, Negative Capability is Marianne’s unflinchingly honest and relentlessly beautiful late-life masterpiece. The stark emotional heft, exquisitely framed by ornately sensitive musical backdrops can only be likened to the late-life works by Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen.
The record emphasises her unique place as a force of nature in the beating heart of modern music that started opening up after ‘Sister Morphine’ ignited her muse and was recorded by the Rolling Stones nearly fifty years ago. At that time she had enjoyed her pop career with hits such as ‘Come And Stay With Me’ and ‘This Little Bird’, before becoming the crown princess of the UK counterculture before grasping her artistic reins with the landmark ‘Broken English’ in 1979.
In her long and storied career, ‘Negative Capability’ sees Marianne composing songs with her musical collaborators more than on any previous album. Mark Lanegan supplied the music for ‘They Come At Night’, inspired by the attacks in Paris and performed at the Bataclan while they were “wiping the blood off the walls”. Ed Harcourt sculpted the desolately moving ‘No Moon In Paris’ that closes the album, with Marianne reflecting on her remarkable life.