Review
Diamanda Galás
Guilty Guilty Guilty

Mute (2008) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Diamanda Galás – Guilty Guilty Guilty cover artwork
Diamanda Galás – Guilty Guilty Guilty — Mute, 2008

Diamanda Galás is unlike any artist in music. Take a moment and think about this. That statement is not embellishment. It is not fanboy bias. It's a simple fact. She is a singular artist with a singular vision and whether or not you appreciate her art is irrelevant. Her genius cannot or, at the very least, should not be disputed.

Guilty Guilty Guilty is the seventeenth album from Ms. Galás and is a strong addition to her legacy. For the uninitiated, Galás deals in pain. She deals in suffering, despair, and horror. This is not her forte this is her. No other artist has the ability to convey these misfortunes of the soul as she. Recent works such as 2003's La Serpenta Canta have seen Galás tackle these emotions through the reworking of songs from the likes of Peggy Lee, Chet Baker, and Billie Holliday and Guilty Guilty Guilty is a continuation of this, with songs from Johnny Cash, Tracy Nelson, and Edith Piaf. It is the reworked version of "Heaven Have Mercy", made famous by Piaf that sums up the career of Galás beautifully. A song of such intense longing enhanced (as is the trademark of so many of her arrangements) with an underlying malevolence that sends that familiar chill down the spine of every Galás fan. As with her last few albums, Guilty Guilty Guilty was recorded not in the studio but in front of a live audience, yet it somehow has no business to ever be referred to as a "live" album. The applause serves only as a segue way between journeys.

One song sure to catch the ear of the longtime listener is the cover of "Interlude", a song often credited to Morrissey and Siouxie Sioux, but was, in fact, written by George De La Rue and Hal Shaper. Of all her operatic power and majestic confidence throughout her career, this is the first time Galás has ever really sounded almost vulnerable. As always with recent live recordings, Guilty Guilty Guilty consists of only Galás and her piano (with an occasional off-stage embellishment), but this is the only instrument she has ever and will ever need. Hell, with her almost four octave range some would argue that even the piano is superfluous.

For over twenty years now, each and every release of Galás' works have been an event with much credit going to her longtime label, purveyor of all that is good, Mute Records and with at least four other projects currently being performed around the world, Galás shows no signs of resting on her laurels, and we're all the more fortunate because of it.

Diamanda Galás – Guilty Guilty Guilty cover artwork
Diamanda Galás – Guilty Guilty Guilty — Mute, 2008

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