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Darren Hayes - This Delicate Thing We've Made

Darren Hayes, This Delicate Thing We've Made

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

DARREN Hayes’ latest solo album This Delicate Thing We’ve Made marks the first time he’s taken full creative and promotional control of his own destiny. It’s a sprawling, 25-track opus that unashamedly embraces pure pop culture, while simultaneously trying to claim that it’s striving for something different.

Unfortunately, it’s a lengthy journey that delivers very few thrills. Hayes, himself, describes it as both cinematic and theatrical but for all of its lofty ambition, it simply doesn’t deliver enough goods.

Fans of Savage Garden and his previous work will doubtless lap up the excess, while hailing some of the more adventurous flourishes as genuine risk-taking. But This Delicate Thing We’ve Made lacks the bravery to really stand out from the mainstream and, for all its publicity stating otherwise, still sits comfortably on the record shelves alongside releases from Natasha Beddingfield, Maroon 5 and Ronan Keating.

What’s more, some of the lyrics are borderline pretentious given the pop culture climate in which the album exists. The virtually a capella Walk Away being a prime example of Hayes attempting to stretch himself without much success (with lyrics that namecheck Judas Iscariot, for crying out loud!).

Or the supposedly incendiary Bombs Up In My Face, which drops lines like “some dude was shot in Pakistan” and “same sex union, ooh, chanhe the constitution…” over a Prince-like piece of future-funk. It’s probably the most personal track on the record, signifying the fanfare that greeted his own coming out last year, but it’s a bit of a mess.

The commercial roots of the album, though, are really exposed on tedious radio-friendly offerings such as former single On The Verge Of Something Wonderful, a bland, even generic, pop record that quickly outstays its welcome, or album opener A Fear Of Falling Under.

Even worse are supposedly deep and meaningful ballads such as I Just Want You To Love Me, A Hundred Challenging Things A Boy Can Do and Words, which gush forth tedious sentiments without ever really pulling at the heart strings.

There’s stabs at Scissor Sisters-style glam rock on Lucky Town, nods to the Chemical Brothers dance grooves on Setting Sun and, even more depressing, an utterly derivative lament at the state of the world on The Great Big Disconnect that references everything from weapons of mass destruction, Lennon, sleeping pills and Aids in Africa with all the conviction of a McFly record.

At almost two hours in length, it’s a very long form of musical torture indeed!

Track listing:

  1. A Fear Of Falling Under
  2. Who Would Have Thought
  3. Waking The Monster
  4. How To Build A Time Machine
  5. Casey
  6. Step Into The Light
  7. Sing To Me
  8. A Conversation With God
  9. The Sun Is Always Blinding Me
  10. Listen All You People
  11. The Only One
  12. Bombs Up In My Face
  13. The Great Big Disconnect

Disc Two

  1. The Future Holds A Lion’s Heart
  2. On The Verge Of Something Wonderful
#Neverland
  1. Walk Away
  2. Maybe
  3. Me Myself And (I)
  4. Lucky Town
  5. I Just Want You To Love Me
  6. Setting Sun
  7. A Hundred Challenging Things A Boy Can Do
  8. Words
  9. The Tuning Of Violins

  1. I have to disagree with you, I pre-ordered this album from an online store and it arrived yesterday and I’ve not wanted to turn it off since it arrived. Its by far the best album I’ve bought in a long time. A welcome change to the drivel and same old same old that’s around right now.

    I find torturous is a description better applied to your review than to this album.

    Musiquefan    Aug 20    #
  2. Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion! I personally think it’s great. The variety is refreshing and sometimes surprising.

    Some tracks grabbed me instantly, others were a little slower to engrave themselves onto my subconscious, but I’ve been going around all day humming bars from Casey, Neverland and How To Build A Time Machine, amongst others.

    I think perhaps some songs are a little stronger than others, but there’s not one I’d take off the album; I really feel it works perfectly as it is.

    Sue    Aug 21    #
  3. I think that the reviewer may not want to seem uncool by admiting to liking a Darren Hayes album.

    I think that this guy is seriously underrated and should be given a chance. This album is very ambitious, intelligent and lyrically mature. I really love the whole album with the sole exception of the first single ‘On The Verge Of Something Wonderful’ which I see as the most radio friendly and obvious choice but sits out of sync with the rest of the album.

    The album is musically brilliant and well produced and Darren has probably the best male voice in popular music but I think that a double album release on his own label is very ambitious. I only hope that it does well as it really derserves to.

    If you only buy one album this year, make it this one and you won’t be dissappointed.

    Mark    Aug 22    #
  4. I think its amazing, lovely.

    Fiona    Aug 24    #
  5. I’ve been watching Darren Hayes since his Savage Garden day, however, he never fails to surprise me everytime he’s got a new album. He changed a lot personally, musically and lyrically between his two first solo albums, i didn’t know what to expect of this album. But i’m listening to it rite now, and thou i haven’t finished the “lengthy torturing journey” the reviewer mentioned, the trip so far is quite enjoyable. it’s amazing how a track like How To Built A Time Machine got me on my feet but simultaneously almost brought a tear to my eyes.
    what’s different from this album to his previous one, is that it’s a lot brighter and more opened, thus it’s a lot easier to listen to.
    i however have to disagree with other reviews, saying only On The Verge is the most radio-friendly track, since I believe most of the tracks will work fabulous on radios, especially nite radios, imagine.
    the reviewer sounds pretty arrogant, i don’t really get the attitude behind your review, with words such as pretentious and tedious.
    This year, I have bought some really great pop records. At first, I thought Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s new album should be the best pop record of the year. But then came Robyn with her fabulous self-titled album. And now it’s Darren Hayes. His is the best so far I have to admit.
    This album is high-recommended if you’re searching for one thoughtful but relaxing pop record.

    Nick    Aug 29    #
  6. A sprawling review which ultimately fails in it’s intention due to listening without predjudice. Some shimmering moments in the 3rd paragraph but ultimately a very long form of torture which lacks the necessary bravery to stand out from other reviews of this year. I award this review 1/2 out of 5 stars.

    noddie    Aug 30    #
  7. i dont know if the writer of this review knows anything about Music, Cinema and Theatre or not, but when you listen to the album for the 6-7th time you really feel the cinematic soul of the album!
    it instantly brings me to the time of E.T. and A.I. and at the same time it makes me feel like i’m living in the world of sky scrapers.. and the world of Darren Hayes!

    THE ONLY ONE and SING TO ME are 2 uncomparable tracks of the album..and you cant compare Darren’s special style in music with some rubbish pop artists.

    Elaheh    Sep 12    #