From Australias own darling girl to a national online/offline target, the singer-songwriter, past ‘Neighbours’ actress, recent musical theatre performer (as Grizabella in CATS), and current ‘Voice’ coach veteran, Delta Goodrem, has had her fair share of cannonballs shot at her. The public has a way of very quickly changing their tune on an artist for no particular reason at times, but in this case, it had been more of a personal attack of sorts, which almost hits a little harder, considering that in the industry, there is only a certain amount of dimensions of an artist’s true self-identity that is laid bare for public consumption, which leaves people filling the blank spaces and creating their own versions of a person within their own mind.
Considering all these factors you’d have to be deaf not to pick up on the less than subtle, ‘you can’t pull me down anymore’, brazen, self-empowered motif of Deltas newest album, Wings Of The Wild. With it being the first album released through her own record label, The House Of Oz Records, it seems like Delta is taking back control in her own life and letting the naysayers do what they want with theirs.
Delta has come to the conclusion in recent years to keep her private life private and this album is no exception, “This chapter wasn’t about (love), it was about me”, Delta has claimed. From the opening tribal track Feline, and its first line of, “so they say/that you’re the hunter/or you’re the prey” it feels like a deliberate hypothesis for the album. So is she the hunter or is she the prey? Turns out we will soon find out.
We come to find through the albums deliberate lack of tracks about romantic love, that Delta is at her strongest in songs that resemble a need to uplift and encourage, motivate and draw out of you, whether it be strength or fragility, think Born To Try and In This Life. It just feels right. Not to mention that it helps set her apart from the major players in the industry. Her angelic tone and brilliant falsetto never fail her in these moments as can be heard in the angelic orchestra fuelled, diary entry, Dear Life, the piano driven ballads, Heavy and Only Human and the more beat driven, vocally layered tracks of optimism, Hold On and Just Call.
Moments that do feel like a sidestep are the ones where she tries to engage with the girl we can’t imagine her to be, such as the girl in The River. It feels like Delta’s attempt at edge, a Rihanna like attitude (Delta-fied, that is), just doesn’t quite match up when coming out of her mouth, are the words, “I couldn’t help myself/When I saw him with her, with her/I took that loaded gun/Forgive what I have done”. Encore is a much more believable attempt at attitude. “Don’t come back for the encore, encore”, lyrically, and sonically it feels more tuned to Delta.
The closing cover track of I Believe In A Thing Called Love, originally by The Darkness, is an odd closer choice, and while is does show off Delta’s flawless vocals and sounds beautiful stripped back, you just can’t help missing the cheekiness of the original while also wondering if the most loved up song of the album, was a cover, purely for the reason of it not being her own words, but still wanting to show she could sing about love and lust?
So all in all, is Delta the hunter? Or the prey? Turns out she is both. The only difference is she is determined that you’ll never catch her again. Wings Of The Wild might just be Delta’s strongest album since Innocent Eyes but as it turns out these innocent eyes aren’t so innocent anymore. There’s a spark in her eye and you’d better watch out, because it may very well start a fire.