Saturday, 29 December 2007

Delta Goodrem is 22 years old and this is her third album, and the first I've bought. The purchase was prompted by a friend's suggestion that I listen to Celine Dion. Goodrem is known to be similar. So in Armidale on my way up to Queensland, I bought both this and one of Dion's. Both are serious and talented singers who rely heavily on good diction (you can actually hear the lyrics) and rhyme (a sophisticated elegancy). But there the similarity ends.

Armidale is situated about half way between Sydney and the Sunshine Coast (my destination). I listened to Goodrem all the way up and all the way back. Non stop. I didn't get tired of it and I didn't start second-guessing the next track. I tried, in my head, to point out the positive songs (+) and the negative (-) ones, but the exercise was too much and I gave up. I would be able to do this in front of my screen, and that's a project for later.

In The Monthly there's an article on the album by "rock critic" Robert Foster, who helpfully points out that many different writers produced tunes and lyrics. He also says that the album "veers from the alarmingly banal to the inspired", which in my opinion is quite untrue. Sure, there are genres being exploited here but - who cares?

Goodrem's voice is superb in any register. She veers between soft, plaintive, erotic, sad, purposeful and kind. In any of these modes, she shines.

Each tune holds myriad complexities both in terms of words and music. None are false or tired. This may be due to the fact that each had a different composer (Goodrem herself pens several) and, as Foster points out, each competes to be the 'signature' tune that will sell as a single.

The single that hooked me is the extraordinary In This Life which has been featured on radio station Heart 103.2. But I think the new single, Believe Again, which opens the album, is superior.

Track 12 is a fascinating tune that uses an oriental flute and a plangent melody to suggest Goodrem is targeting the Japanese or Chinese market (or both).

Just stunning, the album (if listened to for an extended period of time) induces an extraordinary sense of well-being. The sonic effect seems to centre just in the middle of the forehead, behind the eyes.

My concentration during a seven-hour drive was always perfect and included a difficult final 120 kilometers on the Pacific Highway, where the speed limit goes up to 110km/hr. Even during this final phase, before the drudgery of Sydney suburban traffic, I felt totally aware and awake. My only stops were a toilet break and a sandwich. Apart from these brief pauses, the drive was continuous over the period (I left the hotel at 5.30am and arrived home at about 12.30pm).

Of course, driving the Aurion is not the same as driving the Echo, which has a capacity almost three times smaller. The new car behaved impeccably at all points, including the gruelling, three-lane final stint from Newcastle to Hornsby. Even up-hill at 105km/hr, you just squeeze the pedal and watch the tachometer lift by 5000 revs (from 2000 revs/min to 2500 revs/min), and you are already past the car you wish to overtake. The feeling is splendid.

1 comment:

Miao said...

The first song by her I heard is a duet with Bryan McFadden (is he her husband?), "Almost Here". I never expected her to be so young.

Her latest album sounds promising.