The CD cover is deceptively retro Sinatra: here's Marianne (who along with fellow posh Brit former-wild-child Helen Mirren continues to put the sex in sexagenarian) encased in a lady's tux in front of a vintage microphone with "Easy" twice on the title and the subtitle "12 Songs for Music Lovers." I guess Decca is trying to dupe the Wal-Mart masses that have made hits out of Rod Stewart's forays into the Great American Songbook. If so, caveat emptor, for the only track that matches the cover is a fantastic take on Billie Holiday's "Solitude" as rendered in the inimitable narcotic croon of Sister Morphine herself.
The rest of this satisfying album is a classic Hal Willner production, complete with the unusual cover choices (Decemberists, Espers, very late Eno) and the usual Willner Family Players (Nick Cave, Antony Hegarty, Rufus Wainwright, Marc Ribot) in back-up duties. Like Sinatra, Faithfull keeps reinventing her career and injecting new blood into her myth by interpreting eclectic material that could easily be construed as autobiographical. When she sings "Compared to some, I've been around" in Neko Case's "Hold On Hold On," the Music Lovers are invited to chuckle at the survival of the indomitable chanteuse who was once little more than a bawdy joke, the Lindsay Lohan of her time.
If it's neo-easy you want, you might have to wait for the next Diana Krall/Claus Ogerman collaboration (see right). Here you get the doyenne of rock decadence with Willner's heavy friends — what's not to like?