Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night

2008-04-24 09:15
It’s in this pseudo-genre that Missy Higgins has to make a name for herself.

Her third album, On A Clear Night, actually sounds like a third album. Many of her experiences seem once removed, as if her lyrics have been scribbled in her tour diary years after the fact. Higgins is older and wiser, evidently, but how does it sound?

She’s got the touch. “Where I Stood” is a break-up song that probably minced the guts of the poor sod on the receiving end, and will do the same to anyone who’s ever been in the same situation. It’s ambivalent, intense, and quaintly written: “I don’t know if I could stand another hand upon you, All I know is that I should”. The song has been featured on Grey’s Anatomy, so you know it’s no “Let’s Do The Twist”.
Unlike some contemporaries, Higgins doesn’t become too mired in the piano. She’s added a juicy bunch of guitar arrangements to the album, some of them invogorating, some of them darkly sexy.

“Secret” is one of these, a bare-bones ode to stolen caresses and smeared liptstick. It’s the extreme opposite of “Where I Stood”, and just as good. I have a feeling audiences wouldn’t mind seeing more of an impulsive, even horny version of Higgins. “Yeah I’m your secret aren’t I babe?” she sings, a rare clue that another Missy exists somewhere.

Now, it would be silly to imagine Missy Higgins running in some kind of singer-songwriter relay race for the honour of the female gender. But if she were, this album puts her miles ahead of James Blunt and his underachieving team of male musicians.

- Niel Bekker

If music were one giant gender war, the women would be flying high in the singer-songwriter stakes right now. Sure, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen built an early lead despite the efforts of Joni Mitchell, but only a dummy would argue that the best troubadours of today have hair on their chests. Just look at Michelle Branch, Amy McDonald and Norah Jones: wildly successful, brilliant or both.

What to read next: Kalahari

aspin 2008/10/21 5:42 AM
second This is her second album!!! Cant wait for the third but nothing beats the Sound of White and her original EPs. She's amazing.
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