Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate is the 2003 album Innocent Eyes by Australian singer and former Neighbours actress, Delta Goodrem… but was it good, or is she guilty of crimes against music? Read on…
This 14 track album opens with the tinkling piano of debut single Born To Try, which gave her a #3 UK hit in the Spring of 2003. Delta’s voice is soft and rich as the subdued beats shuffle along with her. Bass and guitars join in, but Delta’s voice rules here, and she sounds almost effortless in her delivery. Great song.
Again, piano leads you into the next track – the titular Innocent Eyes. The chorus is particularly catchy, even if Delta’s vocals are a bit too low to fully hear her. This song is far more rocky than the previous track, with plenty of electric guitar accompanying her through. This was the third single, giving her a #9 UK hit single.
Piano AGAIN opens third song, accompanied by strings as we head towards the first verse of Not Me, Not I. This was the fourth and final single from the album, and moderate hit at #18, and just like me so far with this album, i’m spotting the somewhat formulaic style of her music. Unsurprisingly, you find that That That’s Gary Barlow is lurking in the writer credits (his first of a total 6 songs here).
As if it knew my thoughts, next song Throw It Away begins with acoustic guitars instead. This song is quite light, mellow, and catchy, and reminds me somewhat of her fellow Neighbours star, Natalie Imbruglia instead. This song claims pop royalty in its writers – which Gary Barlow and Cathy Dennis.
The Imbruglia sound continues, returning to acoustic guitar, piano, and strings in Lost Without You. The song takes a predictable plodding through. It’s predictable, and the style is getting boring. This acted as her second single, which i guess explains why it got to #4 in the UK as the public hadn’t got bored with her yet.
We’re back to piano tinkling for Predictable (somewhat apt) ‘you’re just so predictable in every way’ she sings. I wonder whether she’s singing this to a mirror. Having said that, the piano’s melody is wonderfully haunting, and accompanied by cello, but beside that, we’re still in a predictable-as-hell song formula. Delta’s vocals really belt it out here, but it could be the same music playing underneath. This was the 5th and final single from the album, although it didn’t chart in the UK.
Butterfly follows this. Piano and acoustic guitars and muted beats continue, just as they do for the sickening ballads of In My Own Time and My Big Mistake. The latter sounding like something that perhaps The Lighthouse Family passed on.
Next up is This Is Not Me, is somewhat downbeat. The usual instruments are present, but it does at least manage to break into a bit of a rockier, harder, sound. The string section are well placed, helping the song build again. At moments, she’s channelling Natalie, but also a bit of Alanis Morissette too.
Things pick up a bit for Running Away, almost getting some funk on, resulting in a catchy almost pop song.
However, this is followed by another ballad in the shape of A Year Ago Today, which seems to have stolen the melody of The Jacksons hit I’ll Be There. Of course, Delta’s vocals shine again, but musically the song just plods that same old path.
Guess what penultimate track Longer begins with… yes, a piano, and then there’s some strumming guitars, some strings in there too. Jeez this album is predictable. Surely someone had some other ideas?
The album closes with self-penned Will You Fall For Me which opens with tinkling piano, and breathy vocals from Delta. She’s joined by cello, and that’s it – giving it a sad little delicate simple song feeling, with just a few tiny sad moments (in the cello) as the piano dances throughout.
Over all, if you like any one of Delta’s songs, then buying this album will give you 13 variants of it. Musically it is absolutely dull and monotonous as hell. Even Harold’s cafe probably wouldn’t play this in the background of a low-drama scene in Neighbours. Vocally, Delta’s voice is flawless, but she’s just given utterly benign songs to sing over – even if she has got a writer and performer credit for most of them.
The album should have explored some other songwriters – instead of giving almost 50% of it over to Gary Barlow to splurge over, and should have had 4 tracks sliced off it – to make it into a varied 10 track great little debut.
Leave the audience wanting more, not drag out one idea until everyone slips into a coma.
Where is Delta Goodrem now?
Delta scored phenomenal international success with her singles and this album. In her native Australia, it became the equal 6th highest selling album in Australia’s history, and Delta became the first artist to have 5 number one singles from the same album (surpassing fellow Australian and ex-Neighbour star Kylie Minogue).
She followed it up in early 2005 with duet Almost Here with former-Westlife member (and male Delta equivalent) Brian McFadden, giving them a #3 UK hit single. Strangely, she hasn’t charted in the UK singles or album chart since.
Delta returned to Neighbours for a small number of episodes during its 30th anniversary week in 2015, where her character Nina Tucker sang at the closing of Erinsborough’s music festival. Her character had begun her singing career there as part of a plot, with viewers watching her write and sing debut single Born To Try.
POP RESCUE RATING
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 2 / 5
- 2003 UK CHART PEAK: #2, certified 3x Platinum.
- POP RESCUE COST: 50p from an RSPCA shop.