I am totally late to the Darren Hayes party. Especially for being a Casey Stratton fan - for a large number of his fans also seem to like Darren Hayes. I always liked Savage Garden enough. They had some really catchy radio hits in the late 90s-early 2000s. In fact, "Truly Madly Deeply" was etched forever in my brain while I was working part time at Drug Town in Iowa City when I was getting my Pharm.D. I swear, that song was played about every two hours. That and "Stop" by the Spice Girls. And while "Truly Madly Deeply" is not one of my favorite Savage Garden songs, it is certainly not one that I turn off when it comes on my iTunes or whatever.
But up until recently, I really haven't had all that much time for Darren Hayes as a solo artist. I had checked out his CD Spin from the library a while back and hadn't been all that impressed. But I recently had a Savage Garden renaissance - not exactly sure what brought it about. But anyway, I decided to give Spin another listen, and it's a fantastic pop album. Very much in the vein of Savage Garden, it kind of balances between upbeat pop numbers and ballads. Personal favorites are the fabulous "Like It Or Not" which mentions Samsonite bags in the lyrics - hard to hate a song that can manage that - and "Crush (1980 Me)" which I've always kind of liked and still holds up well.
Based on the strength of this, I picked up Darren's second solo CD The Tension & The Spark. I had read that it was not as pop oriented as Spin had been, and I was ready for it. And they were right - it's not as pop. But that doesn't mean it's not good. I'm still digesting it - but I do think the album kicks off great. The first four tracks are all winners - and "Dublin Sky" would have been a great single. The album is definitely a grower - it doesn't grab you right off the bat like the best Savage Garden song did.
So now I'm very eager to see if he'll do anything else - according to Wikipedia (and we all know that Wikipedia is completely infallible) he's parted ways with his record label, but plans are to release a new album in 2007. If he does, it'll be an automatic purchase.
I love discovering new and good pop music - even when it's just new to me. And that's what I love about sites like The Zapping! and XO's Middle Eight. They introduce me to music I might not otherwise hear. And then, of course, there's my UK connections - Mike and John. Words can't express my gratitude for how much my musical horizons have been expanded thanks to those two guys.
So better late than never to the Darren party. I know Heidi says that it all sounds the same to her - and I suppose there's a bit of an argument there, but it all sounds so good!