Today has been a very bad day. But it will get better, because it has to. In lieu of this, I’m uploading one of the most important albums to me, The Tension and The Spark, by Darren Hayes. Though his newest album is pretty good, it’s his release from 2004 that I stumbled upon three years ago that thoroughly inspired me. The songs are so carefully constructed and so wonderfully textured, I often feel as though it’s an album created to prove why pop matters.
The album was Darren’s second after splitting up with Savage Garden. He’s another male voice that I actually enjoy. It was his last with a major label, undoubtedly due to its experimental nature. The Tension and the Spark is so chock full of breathless beauty that I’m always finding new moments within the songs to fall in love with.
The album is dark in its entirety, evidenced by the gutting opening track “Darkness”, and never really letting go from thereon in, with the exception of “Pop!ular”, the faux-autobiographical journey into a wannabe pop star’s mindset. But even here, the song itself is sinfully bleak as Darren sings “I’m willing to sleep my way to the top / I wanna be popular” with no emotion, on top of the skittish electro vibes below.
Or there’s “Hero”, his withdrawal from the world: “Ladies and gentlemen, listen up please / I don’t want to be your hero / Do yourself a favor, save yourself / Don’t pick me, find someone else”. A great anthem-like track that goes on into its climax: “There’s too much pressure / Don’t want to let you / Down again.”
And then there’s “Unlovable”, which is an epic track in itself. His voice is nearly on the brink of breaking in the verses…the emotion is overflowing. And the accusations? “Do I remind you of a part of you that you despise?”Heavy stuff. And don’t even get me started on the soul chilling “Ego”, the coldest of tracks on the album. When he gets to the purely vibrato riffing section meshed with the overdriven synthesizers, it’s eerily haunting.
Honestly, there’s so much to be said about this one album, I’d rather upload it and let you all see for yourselves. Whether the conflict going on inside the album tracks centered around his struggle with coming out in today’s sex-fueled music industry or a yearning to break the pop mold, Darren succeeded. And I’m so thankful that he made this record, because it’s inspiring to its core.
DL: Darren Hayes – The Tension and the Spark (Album)
You can choose to download some particular album highlights to make sure you’re sold first, or the album in its entirety. But if you like what you hear, please support Darren and buy the album here at Amazon.