Spin #48 : Missy Higgins : The Ol' Razzle Dazzle
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #48
The album that I hold in my hands this week for our 48th Spin is Australian artist Missy Higgins' third album, 'The Ol' Razzle Dazzle', released in 2012. I went for this one from as I feel it doesn't get the same amount of attention from people as her earlier albums tend to ( The Sound of White- 2003 and On A Clear Night - 2007). I was lucky enough to find this one when I wasn't earning much money and really enjoyed it upon my first listen. There was just something about the artwork too that grabbed my attention and would be one to put in a record frame/display around the music room. This week has been a challenge but I guess the universe will only throw at you what it knows you can handle.
I've decided to spin this one on the front room set up - Audio Technica turntable (AT-LP60XBT) and the impressive sounding Marshall Woburn II speaker. If there is a representative from Marshall out there and stumbles upon our reviews, send us another Woburn II speaker so I can pair for left and right (smiles 'cos it will never happen).
Image : Melissa 'Missy' Higgins
I know what the saying, 'Give them the Ol' Razzle Dazzle' in terms of sport means and I think that is what Missy was going with when she released this album. It is so pleasantly different, yet familiar to her previous releases and for me is my favourite of her discography. Did Missy feel that she needed to put something out for the critics and fans that dazzled them or did she just like that saying as the album title? It shows her personal growth over the five year gap between albums and I really enjoy the bluesy tones throughout this one. Some of these track titles are a little confronting to me but that is my personal demons that I have to deal with. If you are a sucker for lyrics and want to follow along as you listen at home, click the link to her website here in a new tab. I'll be following along with the included poster that is also signed by Missy - limited and managed to score #347/1000.
Sometimes when our little 1 year old daughter is in a grumpy mood I will give her cute sounding nicknames. One of those nicknames was a play on this artists name. I call her Hissy Miggins cos it makes her sound like she is a grumpy character from an English children's book. The very first track on this album is called 'SET ME ON FIRE' and starts with the sounds of Missy singing 'do do do do do do do do' as the piano softly plays in tandem with her vocals. Her voice sounds very powerful as it builds into the chorus of, "Melody you're the only one who saves me, out of the cold you take me (set me on fire), You save me (set me on fire)". She is talking about being out of the music industry for a few years and having trouble writing new songs. The pressure to create all the time and have other people critique in the public domain must be so confronting and draining. Her music video for this track shows the kind of fun you need to have in your life as you are dealing with difficult situations. The backing track of our daughter (Hissy) crying and neighbour mowing the lawns doesn't take away from this song at all. Check out the music video here.
The second track makes me feel like I'm listening to a really uplifting seasonal song 'HELLO HELLO'. The piano work and harmonies on this album, supported with backing band have really given Missy an added layer of depth that works. I didn't realise until I did a little bit of digging but the first four tracks on this album are the four singles released. It quickly rolls into the haunting sounds of 'UNASHAMED DESIRE'. It sounds like it would be one to get the crowd involved with at one of her live shows. I remember in 2007, going to see her play in Wollongong for her 'On a Clear Night tour and supported by Katie Noonan(George). The acoustics at the Entertainment Centre really suited both artists vocals but would have loved to have seen some of these tracks live. I'll have to take Night Kat Kiz to see her soon as I'm liking this track and watching our little ones dance around is always nice. *looks up Missy Higgins for upcoming shows. Finds out there is a festival in Berry, NSW. Also finds out it is sold out*.
If you are looking for a wedding sounding song musically, then look no further than fourth track on Side A in 'EVERYONE'S WAITING' - click here to watch the music video. This track sounds like it could have been written earlier and included on this album instead of earlier ones, but then at the same time you can tell that Missy has come back to it and found the creativeness to complete it. We had a nice moment yesterday with my sister and her husband enjoying a muggy 30+ day at ours listening to Triple J's, Hottest 100. Spending a bit of time in the pool and sharing some laughs. They found a local XPA by Five Barrel Brewing called Pacific Peak that had something I'd never seen before. The label had a grippy texture which made it so you didn't need a stubby holder. Also, did you end up getting the songs in the Hottest 100 that you wanted? I felt a couple of bands were robbed and others got lucky but that's what makes listening along so much fun.
Missy is talking about a moment or memory that gave her grief on next song 'ALL IN MY HEAD'. Sometimes the hardest trauma to get over is the ones that didn't actually happen, but did in your mind. The mind and body are pretty powerful and if you believe wholeheartedly that something happened, even for a split second, then it can take a while to recover. I like this song for the passion behind Missy's voice and she sounds like she has overcome whatever had been troubling her when she sings this. Make sure that you surround yourself with friends and family that will support you if you are going through tough times and talk your issues out loud as a way of expelling them.
Last song on Side A and completely infectious is the track 'TEMPORARY LOVE' which I could see myself and Night Kat Kiz doing some Samba style dancing too at the start. Another track that would be a crowd pleaser live due to the large scale band sound and high energy. Our children have been watching the children's show Bluey on the blow up mattress in our loungeroom between listening to this album. Our son was yelling out, "Mum that you, Dad that you, (Q) you Bingo and I Bluey". Pretty faultless first side of the record and one that provides so many positive moments. What have you all thought so far?
*The stylus shifts across to the sound of dead wax - time to flip LP over to Side B*
If you want something plucked straight from a B.B King or Muddy Waters album then make sure to listen along to 'WATERING HOLE'. Currently the weather is either muggy and stormy or cold and rainy. This track transports me to Louisiana or New Orleans just by the style and pace. I love the harmonica and if you add that to a song, I'm in.
If Bob Dylan wrote a song for Missy, lyrically it would have to be my favourite track from the album called 'TRICKS'. I say that because he is such a great story teller and would be cool to see them both playing this one on stage. I've gone through a big Dylan stage in the last couple of years and really enjoying his later stuff like 'Love and Theft' and 'Ruff and Rowdy Ways' - check them out if you get a chance.
'IF I'M HONEST' is a track similar to earlier hit, 'The Special Two'. Missy is so strong when she is singing a love ballad and the folk sounds added in the background on this track is a nice touch. Another artist that is worth checking out is New Zealand's Kimbra - click here.
'COOLING OF THE EMBERS' makes me think for a moment that Mccoy Tyner is behind the ivories. This one is a bit sad and probably a bit too close to home to enjoy the lyrics but she has written a powerful and heart pulling song as we get towards the end of this album. Missy must have written this for someone very special in her life that she lost. Second last track on the album is 'HIDDEN ONES' and our children sound like they are having a wrestling match in the loungin (what our kids call the loungeroom). At least they are laughing for the time being. Similar to the previous track, 'HIDDEN ONES' is another slow and emotional song that might have been written earlier and left on the scrap pile (not because it is bad, but maybe didn't fit on previous albums). I like the lyrics of, "There is a choice. You can follow the leader or use your voice. Cause this will just keep up until we make a loud noise and the hidden ones speak up". The only album I don't have from her collection and seemingly difficult to find is her fourth album called 'Oz'. Around the mid-way point there is a completely different sound coming through the Woburn II speaker that picks up the mood of this song. The stylus is moving across now to last track on the album.
Close your eyes as you listen to 'SWEET ARMS OF A TUNE'. You will feel as though she is in the room with you or you are watching her at a twilight concert and everyone is dead quiet. I'd like to hear Gang of Youths cover this one as I feel like the storytelling would suit their style. The soft playing of the piano to finish and her voice were a good choice to finish this album.
The stylus has found itself hitting the grooves on the inside of the record and the silence fills the room now (besides our little gremlins running around and laughing their heads off). Maybe you need to take a leaf out of Missy Higgins' book and give those people giving you grief in your life 'The Ol' Razzle Dazzle'. Thank you for getting involved each and every week on our social pages. Our love for music here at R'nR will never die, so keep coming back if you enjoy our little families insights into our record collection. We are having fun doing this each week and for those of you that like something a little heavy, I'll see you next Sunday. Also a big congratulations to my parents on their next adventure and making their new home their little Sanctuary.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to Australian artists and be Kind to your Wax!
BRAD JONES, BUTTERFLY BOUCHER
SPEED PLAYED AT
33 1/3 RPM
ON A CLEAR NIGHT (2007)
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, POSTER SIGNED BY MISSING HIGGINS, LIMITED TO 1000 (#347)
"I'm done with poetry, I'm done with prose. I'm done with dressing up these words in delicate clothes. I'm done with dancing on this here box like a begging dog. I'm done with smoke screens and fancy veils. I'm done with all this petty decorating of myself " ~ TRICKS -Side B
LP / SIDE
SET ME ON FIRE
ALL IN MY HEAD
LP / SIDE
IF I'M HONEST
COOLING ON THE EMBERS
SWEET ARMS OF A TUNE
Missy Higgins on tour for the record