Missy Higgins Still Plenty of The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle
- Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Artist: Missy Higgins
Title: The Ol' Razzle Dazzle
It's been five years since we've heard from acclaimed Australian singer/songwriter Missie Higgins, but fortunately, the wait was more than worth it with The Ol' Razzle Dazzle.
Produced by Brad Jones (Matthew Sweet) and fellow artist Butterfly Boucher (Sarah McLachlan), The Ol' Razzle Dazzle is a thoughtful homage to Higgins' time away from the music scene. A candid reflection of her time spent in the classroom and doing various volunteer projects, the follow-up to her 2007 critically acclaimed sophomore album On a Clear Night is introspective and thoughtful without ever resorting to eye-rolling clichés.
Recorded in Nashville (but with absolutely no country twang, in case you were curious), it may also be her most experimental effort as well. Utilizing a variety of tones and timbres, the melodies are just as irresistible as ever on The Ol' Razzle Dazzle, but tracks like "Set Me on Fire," "Hello Hello" and "Everyone's Waiting" are still cut from a decidedly different cloth than today's Top-40 fare.
In what's a pleasing diversion from the same ol' same ol', Higgins also showcases surprising diversity as she easily segues from pop to rock and from jazz to funk. With many of the same ingredients that made Adele's blockbuster breakthrough 21 such a crowd-pleaser, Higgins also sings about love's inevitable triumphs and heartbreaks with a sense of relatable conviction.
Proving she's got more than her relationships with the opposite sex on her mind, however, the conversation gets even more personal with "Cooling of The Embers," a heartfelt song about her grandmother where lines like "What you've become is not who I remember/Is this the cooling of the embers?" can't help but cut straight to the heart.
Truth be told, while many artists come and go and no one really cares (Chumbawumba, anyone?), there's definitely something to be said for someone who steps away and actually comes back with something valuable to say. And that's precisely what makes Higgins' work so utterly engaging to listen to—because you sense that she's learned something from living out of the spotlight for a while, something a few of her peers could definitely benefit from.
*This Review First Published 7/24/2012
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