Darren Hayes - Spin

Some things are completely unexplainable, like Will Young winning Pop Idol for example. Why Darren Hayes has been so successful? is one of those questions you find asking yourself after you've smoked a few too many funny cigarettes and moved on from Einstein and Carl Jung to the more important issues like insignificant Australian pop stars. Its clear from one listen to "Spin" that although Hayes may have been "the voice of Savage Garden", he certainly wasn't the one with the talent. Savage Garden were again one of those unexplained success stories, but there's no one who deny that the likes of "Affirmation" or "Truly, Madly, Deeply" had a certain quality that surpassed the usual pop fodder. Maybe it was the Australian factor of taking equal influence from the UK and the US, yet still being about 5 years out of date that made each song sound so instantly familiar and fresh at the same time.

"Spin" on the other hand is recorded down in California and if anything it's obvious that Darren is more concerned with breaking the US than being content with his previous success rate back home in Oz and here in the UK. At times "Heart Attack" and "Dirty" sound like Michael Jackson "Invincible" era B-sides. It's a far cry from his time at Savage Garden when he'd try to emulate Bono and its notable that  the aforementioned "Dirty" is more Channel 5 cheap softcore porn flick that a hard-core gang bang. Over the 12 tracks on display here there's just an overwhelming sense of nothingness - no tunes, no emotion, no relevance. At a time when the music industry is moving in step with the tweenage generation, its ironic that the latest tune by S Club Juniors carries more of a tune and more emotional resonance than a so called serious artist like Darren Hayes. Even legendary producer Rick Knowles famous for his work with artists like Madonna can't lift the likes of "Creepin' Up On You" or "Like It Or Not" out of its dated 80s production from Walter Afanasieff. It's really only on "Crush(1980 Me)" that benefits from the full on 80s treatment and sounds like a lost recording from the Stock, Aitken and Waterman factory.

"Spin" fails on every level from start to finish. Its devoid of emotion and provokes no reaction whatsoever apart from complete contempt for this pedestrian production that makes Ronan Keating sound like the b***ard son of Johnny Rotten.

Alex McCann

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