Jessica Mauboy is a bit of a darling in Australia at the moment. The girl from humble means in the Northern Territory burst on to the scene on Australian Idol all those years ago and has gone on to become one of the countries most successful female artists. She is the girl next door with a voice that would rival Mariah Carey, is undeniably talented and by all accounts the nicest person ever, but I always find myself changing the station when Can I Get A Moment is played for the 34985435th time that afternoon. That said, her new single The Day Before I Met You isn’t quite grading on me in the same fashion – yet.
Layering her very low pitched verse vocals over an acoustic guitar riff, Jess establishes this track as immediately stripped back and different from the pop hit that came before it. It’s simple and sweet, not unlike one of my favourite Rihanna songs Hate That I Love You or JoJo’s Get Out (Leave). The chorus is cute, with a pretty and soft melody spouting the lyrics What did I do without you here / How did I breathe when you’re my air / If I had a time machine I would never go back / to the day before I met you. While the song doesn’t give too many chances for vocal gymnastics, something I’m always thankful for, Jess still finds a spot to give us an audible double back spring at around 2.35.
Jessica has been quoted giving credit to her hometown and community as a grounding influence on her life and the inspiration for this personal song, but lyrically I don’t get it. It’s a cute little love song that quite clearly tells the story of not wanting to go back to a time before that special someone was in her life. So why the hometown backstory? The single would have been better served with a “less is more approach”. I’d love to see her drop the effects, ditch the echoes, overdone vocal displays and any hint of synth, and just stand and deliver a lovely, simple song. This was the perfect chance and unfortunately it’s suffered from too much production. But it’s cute. She’s cute. Did I say it’s cute?