Let’s face it. If Darren Hayes made an album of reggae polka, I’d still probably like it. My love affair with the music of Darren Hayes over the years has mostly to do with the fact that a lot of what he creates is very human. His music is relatable and as a person in my thirties who has lived, loved, lost and conquered demons and by some strange twist of fate, met the one person that I want to spend the rest of my life with, I can really appreciate the depth of emotion that is explored in Darren Hayes new full-length album.
“Secret Codes And Battleships” is about holding onto what is precious and dear in our lives despite the war of emotions and negative circumstance happening all around us. This theme is told ever so eloquently on this album which is full of grace and sees the Savage Garden frontman return-to-form to the epic sound that made him an international superstar back in the day.
The album opens with a subtle and gorgeous soundscape in “Taken By The Sea” which is the cold and terrifying realization that our world may just be falling apart from underneath us and everything that we know and love could be instantly wiped away in a metaphorical tsunami.
In “Nearly Love” we hear Darren question a new-found disconnection in a relationship that is evolving into something different. The upbeat and hopefulness of this song slightly suggests that this disconnectivty isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but possibly about something moving forward.
Perhaps the saddest track on the album is “Black Out The Sun”. It’s a tale of lost love that has left a huge, gaping and seemingly never ending hole in our hearts. It’s not hopeful in the slightest and the music video is definitely evident of such. But even in the darkest hours, it’s amazing how Darren can paint pictures in a melodic and beautiful musical canvas.
It’s no surprise that “Talk Talk Talk” is shaping up to one of the most successful radio singles in Australia and very popular amongst international pop bloggers. When I first the single, it hit home right away and will continue to do so for those that are having a bit of relationship drama in which our partners just can’t seem to break through to us.
Rounding out the first half of the album is “Bloodstained Heart” which has an amazing Coldplay moment at 2:15 when the track crescendos into a kaleidoscope of astounding light and colour making it one of the most epic pop songs of this year.
My hands-down absolute favorite song on the album is definitely “God Walking Into The Room”. Besides the slight nod to Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” the song valiantly describes the overwhelming sense of completeness that we all experience when we eventually connect with the person of our dreams. “Hand upon The Bible, you’re love is survival” is just one of the lyrics that speak so effervescently to me, making this track a firm favorite.
“Roses” is a little tale about not taking our lives for granted and making the most of every moment with no regrets. Sonically, it kinda of reminds me of “I Miss You” from Darren’s first solo album “Spin”.
“Cruel Cruel World” is a hard-hitting and effortlessly cool track about the one person in life who gets us and is able to put up with all our little freaky idiosyncrasies. It’s another favorite of mine on the album because of it’s not-so-obvious placement towards the end of the album as it packs a musical punch in almost stadium like proportions.
“The Sirens Call” really reminds me of Annie Lennox’s “Why” with it’s euphoric synths and beautiful percussion flow. It’s a blissful close to “Secret Codes And Battleships” which ultimately leaves us as listeners slowly healing from the emotional battle scars we’ve attained along this scary and epic adventure we call life.
I feel that after listening to “Secret Codes And Battleships”, it’s the soundtrack to a lot of emotional battles I myself have lived through and have come out triumphant. This album documents very eloquently that life truly can change at any given point in time and if we are to avoid being hit by the proverbial bus, we need to grasp onto those we love, love them back with all our might and fight like a brave-hearted soldier to keep it.
In the end, nothing in life is guaranteed and this is something that Darren Hayes knows very well as an artist, musician and storyteller. Although my favorite solo album of Darren Hayes is still the masterpiece that is “Tension And The Spark”, “Secret Codes And Battleships” truly is an artistic winner which confirms Darren’s place in the pop almighty. Very few people can create the art he does so effortlessly.
Catch up on our EQ Audio Interview with Darren Hayes here.
Read our complete Darren Hayes coverage here.