Today, Darren Hayes:
Darren Hayes is kind of a weird dude. He started out, more or less, as the frontman of Savage Garden, which you almost certainly have heard of, and two albums and a small handful of singles you probably hate listening to later, he and Daniel Jones basically split up in a way that could politely be called “acrimonious.” I mean, Hayes himself basically said back in 2007 (six years later for reference) that he’d only do it if it cured cancer, which is… unlikely, so that’s pretty much a “no fucking way” assessment if I’ve ever heard one. He then jumped back into the studio solo to record Spin, a record that could politely be called “pop bullshit,” and while it was fine enough, it was also completely uninspired compared to the work Savage Garden had done, and Hayes was basically showing he didn’t have anything in the tank without Jones behind him.
Then he releases The Tension and the Spark and more or less blows everyone’s expectations out of the water.
Now, it bears noting that Hayes has kind of gone back to making the same pop music that made him famous, albeit in a way that’s a bit more intellectually out there, but for what it’s worth, this record is probably the one that really showed he still had something post Savage Garden. Part of the reason for that is because it’s a super-depressing piece of work, one that most pop musicians wouldn’t touch because it’s not likely to be marketable or radio friendly. Part of it, however, comes back to the fact that it’s some really powerful work from a man who really had nothing to lose here; it’s dark, powerful, and basically comes from a place most pop musicians don’t go to but for one song sometimes, and certainly not for an entire album. It’s unique in that regard, and really interesting as both a record and a concept project, and for that reason it’s probably one of my favorites, both of his and in general.