A Wonderful Song From A Wonderful Album: Jessica Mauboy’s “Maze”

So here’s a post I’ve meant to do for over a month.

Jessica Mauboy is the runner-up from the fourth season of Australian Idol.

For those who haven’t encountered her name yet in their musical journey, a very brief history: Jessica Mauboy has a very listenable and melodic voice, comparable to that of Jordin Sparks, Alexandra Burke or Charice. Following her exit from Idol, the singer released her electro-tinged R&B debut in 2008, Been Waiting. The record spawned about a half dozen radio smashes, including the two very good singles that first caught my attention two years ago: “Been Waiting” and “Burn.”

On November 5 of this year, Mauboy released Get ‘Em Girls, the follow-up to her debut. ‘Urban’-flared and even more radio-friendly than her first album, Get ‘Em Girls nearly bursts at the seams with a dizzying array of American and Australian producers and co-writers, including Bangladesh, Harvey Mason Jr., Audius, Brian Kennedy and even the legendary Billy Steinberg (who penned Madonna‘s “Like A Virgin”)–not to mention the artist guest list, featuring Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Iyaz. Not too shabby!

Though a somewhat eclectic bunch, the talent medley totally worked for Mauboy, resulting in a what proved to be one of the better albums of the year. (See–it even made the MuuMuse Top 40 list!)

Two songs from the album have already been released as singles (“Saturday Night (feat. Ludacris)” and “Get ‘Em Girls (feat. Snoop Dogg)”), although both songs were coupled with shoe-string budget clips that make Girls Aloud‘s “Something Kinda Ooooh” video look groundbreaking.)

Singles aside, I wanted to share one of my favorite album tracks: “Maze,” which was produced by Fredro (who’s also responsible for album tracks “Can Anybody Tell Me?” and “Forget Your Name”) and co-penned by one of my current songwriter crushes, Claude Kelly.

Fredro, the song’s producer, is a Swedish-born writer who first began making waves in the early ’00’s producing for about a zillion of MuuMuse’s most approved acts including Shontelle‘s “Ghetto Lullabye” (!), The Sugababes‘ “Switch” (!!), and Holly Valance‘s “Hush Now” (!!!), as well as another former Australian Idol contestant–Season 1 winner, Guy Sebastian.

Claude Kelly is the same man responsible for co-penning Britney‘s “Circus” and “Shattered Glass” (I know, I KNOW…deep breaths!), Miley Cyrus‘ “Party In The U.S.A.” with Jessie J, and a handful of the better offerings from Christina Aguilera this year, including “Woohoo,” “Desnudate,” and arguably Burlesque‘s best number, “Express.” As one of his latest productions now soars up the Billboard charts (Bruno Mars‘ devastatingly good “Grenade”), I’m fully anticipating the talented songwriter to dominate in 2011.

So that is that, and now we have “Maze”: A fantastically slick, electronica-infused R&B scorcher.

The song is particularly fantastic because it somewhat recalls JoJo‘s legendary “Too Little, Too Late” in that the chorus is very anthem-like and triumphant/inspirational sounding, when in fact the actual message of the song is rife with inner turmoil and a certain degree of sadness.

Speaking to its ‘explosive’ quality, “Maze” basically contains approximately two and a half choruses. First, there’s the pre-chorus (“Yeah, ’cause…one minute you want my tou-ee-uch, yeah / Next minute you don’t want none”).

Upon first listen, it seems like this could be the song’s decent chorus–but it isn’t. IT JUST FEEDS INTO A BETTER ONE: “OOOOOH! Should I stay or should I GOOOO?”

But then, something EVEN MORE AMAZING happens toward the end of the actual chorus: “Your heart is like a MA-EE-AY-ZE!” J. Melly bellows and repeats, rendering the listener physically incapable of doing anything except throwing their head back and hollering right along with the Aussie R&B songstress.

In conclusion: “Maze” is a-MAZE-ing. Do you see what I just did there?! LOLOLOLOL.

Get ‘Em Girls was released on November 5. (Australian iTunes) (Been Waiting is available on US iTunes).

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