Let me just start by saying that no review I could possibly write will do this album justice, so forgive me as I spew all these thoughts out now on disc one in one quick and easy go…as I think I’ll go crazy trying to write the perfect review – it’s too big of a job for me. It’s a lovable fuzzy and sometimes scary monster to get your head around. I can’t even imagine how exhausting a creative journey this was for Darren Hayes. You can feel the blood, sweat and tears that was poured into this timeless double-album. Darren let me just tell you that it was worth it. You should feel exceptionally proud.
When my copy of ‘This Delicate Thing We’ve Made’ by Darren Hayes arrived, I knew it wasn’t going to be my usual ‘just pop it into the iTunes and formulate a few thoughts on it’ type of review. No. This album was going to be something different. Having attended almost every one of Darren’s residency Club Delicacy performances over the last 4 months in London – I thought I knew what to expect when I heard the finished product. How wrong I was to make that assumption. For what I was about to hear was a completely different journey than anticipated.
One thing I noticed about disc one of this magnificent piece of art, is that there is the feeling of constant movement, as if you are almost on a cosmic gliding mechanism from the moment the first track ‘Fear Of Falling Under’ starts to unfold. Having picked up where ‘Tension and The Spark’ left us, this track is a perfect opener for the journey I was about to be taken on. It kinda feels like a dip into Darren’s dreamscape – think of Madonna’s unusual track ‘Bedtime Story’ if you will, which meshes and flows flawlessly into ‘Who Would Have Thought’ in which Darren somewhat angrily asks himself, ‘who would have thought that love so belated could save me?’ It’s not a happy finding, it’s one of almost foolish and shameful discovery. This track musically still reminds me of Depeche Mode’s ‘Walking In My Shoes’ – one of my favourite electronic works to date.
‘Waking The Monster’ is a pleasant and unexpected electronic surprise. I am introduced to ‘The Professor’ who is maniacally crafting something secret in the laboratory. This intricate contraption he is building is going to be used in ‘How To Build A Time Machine’ which is a track I never really fully understood until now. Sure, Darren describes it as a dream in which he goes back in time to correct all the wrongs he has experienced in life. When the song is performed live you don’t get the privilege of hearing it back again or pausing this fast tempo number to fully understand it. Now that I can do this – I quickly realise how really touching and poignant this notion of forgiveness is that Darren is touching upon. By the time the tracks slows down I am almost brought to tears, remembering and relating to my own differences with my two fathers – yes plural. When Darren sings about telling his reflection that ‘it was not his fault’ I am weakened to my core. I can’t hold in the tears anymore. This song is my new anthem. I hope it’s never released as a single – because it’s too personal for me.
Not holding back, Darren hits you hard again with the beautifully orchestrated track ‘Casey’ (Some of the best strings I’ve heard on a song in a long time). I had heard that the muse in this track is really Darren’s sister, but what I quickly realise is that ‘Casey’ can be almost anyone you’ve looked up to in life. That one person who gave you a glimpse of hope for the future – who reassured us that we were meant for something more amazing, rather than this life you were born in. You can be anywhere, you can be anyone and you will relate to this beautiful song. There are almost no words that can describe how perfect this song is. Darren has aimed to create the perfect pop song and has nailed it. He’s done it. I can’t imagine anyone in this world coming up with one criticism for this song.
‘Step Into The Light’ is still one of my favourite songs of this year. Hearing it perfectly nestled on disc one couldn’t please me any more. If you haven’t listened to this track on full blast on your computer system you are missing out on an experience – it’s a piece of music that is flawlessly constructed and meshes well with Darren’s haunting and melodic voice over a cushy bed of electronica. This section of disc one is amazing. I dry my tears.
There are a few Savage Garden-esqe moments on this album and I don’t have much to say about ‘Sing To Me’ other than it feels like it could have been any Savage Garden song from yesteryear. However, ‘Conversation With God’ is a very curious track to me. Darren paints the picture of himself and God on a pensive and sonic road trip through life. Darren talking to God and God screaming a few unpleasant observations back at him. It’s a slightly eerie track, although not musically, but in it’s spiritual sentiment.
‘The Sun Is Always Blinding Me’ gives me that Savage Garden feeling again (take what you will of that observation – good or bad, but it’s just my observation). A lovely track, like one of those ‘stop and smell the roses’ and ‘see the beauty in all small things’ kind of track. ‘Listen All You People’ feels like ‘Affirmation’ re-written for today. I think Darren might cringe if he reads this, but don’t let this description sway you’re judgment of this song. It’s a positive, upbeat song and we are starting to notice that the darkness that Darren Hayes was in engulfed in on the last album is slowly lifting away in a soft gentle breeze of musical whimsy.
‘The Only One’ is a delicate track. Simple in it’s sound, but intricate in it’s construction. A love song. A poem perhaps. If I were Darren’s partner, I would feel very proud to have this song written about me. ‘Bombs Up In My Face’ is one of those songs that I love more and more with every play. I’m not a political person by any stretch of the imagination. But you can’t escape the current political climate no matter how hard you try to cover up your eyes and/or your mouth. It’s great to know that Darren doesn’t fear making his strong feelings regarding gay marriage, George Bush, homelessness, false idols and terrorism public knowledge. Some people find this track completely left-field and awkward, but it’s one of the strongest tracks on the album if you ask me. The current world is making me a more paranoid person and ‘its time we started to give a fuck’ is the message that I take away from hearing this song.
‘The Great Big Disconnect’ is the closing track on disc one. Continuing on the political climate and false idols theme in a more classic singer/songwriter format, this seems like a natural pause for the album. This song should have been Madonna’s ‘Hey You’ if you ask me – it works a lot better than Lady M’s attempt to spread a John Lennon message to the masses.
Wow. That was a lot to digest and it’s only disc one. Stay tuned for my thoughts on disc two coming up shortly (I do have some critisisms as well) when I have calmed down enough from my fit of ‘blubbering sensitivity’ after hearing Time Machine/Casey played back-to-back. Damn you Darren, you made this big girl cry…