Saturday, April 21, 2007
A friend of a friend of mine really dislikes musicians who sing in a way that you can hear their speaking accents; he doesn't, therefore, like Missy Higgins. In fact, 95% of people reading this, if they're over 21 and from Australia, probably also don't like Missy Higgins. It's not that she's untalented-- quite the opposite, actually. It's just that she's almost like Britney Spears over there-- her shows are filled with screaming teenage girls who want to be Missy Higgins, and they sing all of her songs really loudly and scramble for setlists when she leaves the stage. Here in the States, where her albums are put out by Warner Bros Records (which, while working a shitty field rep position, is where I first heard of/met Missy years ago), it's less crazy, but ultimately draws kind of the same crowd. Last June I decided to head to a show down at the Canal Room here in NYC, and was shocked how many sixteen year old girls were there screaming Missy's name and the lyrics to her songs like it was an N*Sync concert, desperate to get close to The Higgs. She put on a hell of a show and is truly an amazing performer-- which I knew before that night-- and I will always be up to seeing her live.
Anyhow, in a week's time, Missy's second record, On A Clear Night is finally ready to hit shelves, almost a whole three years after her debut album, The Sound of White was released-- a result of winning Triple J's Unearthed competition a few years prior. That album went 9x platinum, and Missy toured it relentlessly until it just couldn't be toured or played or promoted any more. And now, there's this.
Whereas TSOW was a pretty complete pop album, it still retained a somewhat organic feel to it-- a stark difference to OACN, with very few exceptions ("Forgive Me" being the only one to come to mind, currently). Hours must've been spent at the mixing station for this recording, with full instrumentation for nearly every track, and vocals that are polished to a pretty severe degree. This works just fine, generally speaking, but one of the things I've always loved about Missy is her incredible voice. With all the production on this album, most tracks just feel stifled, and Missy sounds like she's holding back the power of her vocal range and abilities, which is disappointing, to say the least. The lyrics, however, are more mature, and it is a strong recording overall, with songs that are well put-together and produced pretty flawlessly. I guess I just tend to get a little nostalgic for the old days.
I feel too guilty to really share any yet-to-be-released tracks, but a little something from the single never hurt anyone.
Missy Higgins - Steer
Missy Higgins - The Battle (Triple J Demo)