This is where things could get really messy if I let it, as when it came down to it – despite some of the reasons that prompted this series – my awareness of, and exposure to, music has hit a peak this decade, which hasn’t excluded Oz music as much as I may have indicated (more that I don’t tend to hear about much unless they’ve caused a buzz in some way – and of course many have). So I’ve decided to keep the focus strictly on two specific aspects post-2000.
By the time I got to this point , I noticed a distinct lack of female artists, which would appear to suggest it was rare for me to notice and/or appreciate their contribution to Australian music. Whether that’s true of the past or not, the first decade in the new millenium has seen a whole host of them coming onto the scene that really struck a chord with me, and audiences in general. While I wouldn’t usually make a special point of it, I do feel their absence thus far should be redressed, and I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t think I could back it up with some good music. I’ve already raved on plenty of times here about Inga Liljeström and her album Elk, so I’ll leave that out of this.
The first clip is a neat little tie in, I suppose, as it’s a cover of an old Cold Chisel song called Flame Trees, done beautifully by Sarah Blasko (whose own work is indeed part of my current collection). I love the fact that she hasn’t changed any of the lyrics in order to adapt it for a female artist, as it really changes the context of much of the song. I have to admit to an intrigue when artists do that – that being the interpretation of songs generally considered “for” one gender by the other. I can’t really say as to why, perhaps I’ll look into that further at a later stage. Once again, I was restricted to only showing a live version. (Oh, and here’s the original Cold Chisel version – top song).
I guess while I’m on the subject, I’ll divert slighty for a moment… As fascinated as I am when they get it right, I’m a little unsettled when I really don’t think it works. One of Australia’s most successful bands of the last couple of decades, Powderfinger, just didn’t pull off their take on Portishead‘s very female song, Glory Box – which you can listen to here if you so choose.
I mentioned the loss of my CD collection in the last post, and in all reality it’s only been a few years since I started avidly paying attention to music and buying CD’s again, but one of the first I sought out was Clare Bowditch‘s What Was Left. The song I Thought You Were God was my immediate favourite on that album, and I feel sure that I’m not the only one out there that thinks Clare’s wonderfully fond and nostalgic reminiscence is just as much theirs as it is hers, as it sums up so perfectly and poignantly the way many young people feel about their first love(r). I don’t think it needs further explanation than that, so…
As a rather stark counterpoint to that song, classicly-trained pop vocalist Kate Miller-Heidke, sings about what happens when that God-like person doesn’t fill you with such fond memories, then comes back to haunt you years later. (This song – Are You F*cking Kidding Me – has yet to make an appearance on a studio album, but is on 2009’s Live at the Hi-Fi. That’s not my censorship of the title, by the way).
I’ve mentioned other family members in terms of the influence they’ve had on my listening habits, so for the final part of this series, I’m taking a cue from the other members of my immediate family and I’ll be focusing on Australian hip hop.