- Audio CD (August 21, 2007)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Label: SUMA RECORDS
- ASIN: B000SUKPR0
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,141 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
This Delicate Thing We've Made (2 CDS)
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This Delicate Thing We've Made
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Darren Hayes is not only one of the finest (if not most underrated) singers and songwriters of our generation, he is also a master of reinvention. 'This Delicate Thing We've Made' is released on Hayes' own label, Powdered Sugar, and is the record he has wanted to make for years. Now he is his own boss, he's doing everything his own way. Bizarrely, it's the most commercial-sounding thing he's ever done. His old record label, Columbia, must be kicking themselves.
The album is a double-disc pop opus. It is a deeply felt, moving, and joyous celebration of life and of pop music. Though the tracks vary in style and genre, often deliberately sequenced so as to draw attention to their differences ("Setting Sun" followed by "A Hundred Challenging Things" is one of the most dramatic changes of mood I've ever heard), together they form a whole that is one of the most enjoyable and one of the most intelligent pop albums of the last decade.
It seems inspired by, and certainly deserves to be regarded alongside, albums such as Madonna's 'Ray of Light', U2's 'Achtung Baby', Prince's 'LoveSexy', and Peter Gabriel's 'So'. There are musical nods to these artists, and others.
In terms of style, there is pure pop celebration here, in the form of songs like "Listen All You People", "Tuning of Violins" and the first single "On the Verge..." "Casey" proves that melancholy, yearning lyrics don't have to be stuck on ballads, but can be sung over up-tempo synth-pop to heart-wrenching effect. In tracks like "Bombs Up in My Face" and "Me, Myself and (I)" Hayes is channeling Prince at his funkiest best.
To be honest, any 11 of the tracks could have been released as an album, and would have made a great record. But by giving himself room to explore musical avenues, develop his themes, and (dare one say it) nudge the whole thing towards being a concept record. Hayes has managed to craft an album of intricate narratives and personal confessions that simultaneously document his arrival at peace within himself. He has created something that really demands to be listened to, that hooks you and completely seduces you.
The UK's NME Magazine called him a genius. They weren't wrong.
Ex-Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes stretches his legs a bit on his third solo release, adding a bit of bombast to the radio-friendly boogie. With song titles like "How to Build a Time Machine" and "Waking the Monster" (about a mad professor building a creature with a "phonographic needle and a stereo heart"), it seems Hayes is reaching for more than a simple pop album, and the double-CD length belies the need to say more than you can squeeze into a three-minute radio single. The result is practically a dance-pop concept album, sprawling without quite being epic, occasionally straying into conversational, train-of-thought lyrics that vaguely recall an R. Kelly "Closet" episode. While the single, "On the Verge of Something Wonderful," delivers a catchy chorus over tightly packed production, This Delicate Thing We've Made lacks the kind of monster jams that elevate an album like Justin Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds out of the dance-pop pack and into the stratosphere. Still, Darren Hayes delivers enough variety and soulfulness to keep the listener hanging on through 25 tracks to see what happens next--in the era of 10-second ringtones and downloadable singles, that's no small feat.--Ben Heege
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Top Customer Reviews
As one review rightly pointed out, if Hayes was still attached to Sony / Columbia, no megaconglomerate record company would have ever financed anything as ambitious and hard to categorize as This Delicate Thing We've Made. Spanning 25 tracks on 2 CDs, the album is all over the place sonically in a tribute to some of Darren's idols, including Prince, Michael Jackson, and Kate Bush, and the authentic retro vibe is courtesy of a 1983 Fairlight CMI syth. Darren's earlier collaborations with Robert Conley on Spin (Crush (1980 Me) and Tension and the Spark continue on TDTWM, along with Justin Shave as producer (Justin played keyboards on Darren's Big Night In tour).
Even though there is a unifying theme of time travel, Darren's bouncing off the sonic walls, from funk to electro to boy band to uniquely Darren. Unexpected samples (barking dogs, airplanes, horses) crop up in the middle of songs, and two songs (Conversations with God and Neverland) strongly remind me of Tori Amos-influenced Casey Stratton (Standing at the Edge), who shares the same soaring falsetto and sense of lyrical drama.
My main issue is the balance between uptempo flirtations with electronica (club hit Step Into the Light, Casey, Listen All You People, Me, Myself, and I) and slower ballads, which make up most of the second disc. I feel that TDTWM lacks the overall cohesiveness of Tension and the Spark, and I find myself skipping over a few of the tracks (the aforementioned Bombs Up In My Face and the dark, gritty Setting Sun). However, TDTWM grows on me with each successive listen. It's such a nuanced, complex work that multiple listens are required to do Darren's creative vision justice.
This special edition features deluxe packaging (suede clamshell box) with a double-sized booklet containing exclusive photos.
Kudos to Darren for the creative, pass-the-good-karma origami bird marketing that ties in with TDTWM's theme. He encourages fans to print an origami bird, write a wish or note (world peace, happiness, someone loves you, etc.), fold it, and leave it in a public place for others to find. If you find a bird, you can upload its location and a photo to neonbird dot com/something-wonderful
As usual, Darren is a lyrical genius who can touch your heart and soul with his words. The musical parts are very different on each song. Its not a typical pop album where each song sounds similar.
Each song is unique in its own way lyrically and musically. Alot of artists have songs that sound similar in terms of music and lyrics, but each of Darren's songs is not that way.
He was not afraid to explore the depths of his heart and soul during the writing process, and some of the songs remind me of his last cd "The Tension and The Spark" which was not an American release but should have been. But at the same time, there are many tracks that very positive and upbeat, and reflecting Darren's new found happiness both personally and professionally.
I recommend the following tracks as my personal favorites so far -
"Step Into The Light" - a track that has proven to be very danceable and there are great remixes for this track that will keep you on your feet
"Casey" - A very deep and personal track - It may be about Darren's sister and others in his life, but we all have someone who has filled the role of 'Casey' in this track in our lives..
"Bombs up in my face" - I compare this to "Affirmation" in a way with the statements in it but deeper and more angry in tone in some areas of the song.
"Me myself and I" - Very Prince-like, and great beat, and an excellent song to dance to, and it should be very remixable for a night in a club or a party too.
"A Conversation With God" - A deep and touching & personal track, and like the title says it is like you are having a conversation with the Higher Power Himself
"Who would Have Thought" and "On The Verge of Something Wonderful" - songs that will get you on your feet and dancing for sure - they did for me.
"The Only One", "Sing To Me", "Lucky Town" and "I Just Want You to Love Me" - Each of these are love and/or ballad type songs describing different kinds of love in life. For most of us, we can relate to at least 1 or more them during our lifetime.
The whole album is worth the purchase and the wait, especially for Darren's American fans who have been waiting over 5 years for music they can go online to get or purchase in a store, and they will still see the genius that is Darren Hayes (without the tagline of Savage Garden tied to his name).
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