As a teen I remember almost as clear as day being beside myself as I went out to buy Savage Gardens debut album. To say I was a fan of the Aussie duo’s debut single I Want You is quite the lie – I was pretty obsessed with the hit. In fact, I must has played that song over 1000 times in the first year of owning that record and it still forms part of many of my iPod playlists to this very day. Thankfully the band proved to be repetitive in their turning out of hit singles and tracks like To The Moon And Back, Truly Madly Deeply and Break Me Shake Me further guaranteed Savage Gardens position as one of my all-time favourite pop acts.
Savage Garden’s success is being celebrated this month with the release of a stunning compilation encapsulating all of the bands singles from their time together as one of Australia’s most successful musical outfits, a title that has remained intact for the last 20 years despite the duo going their separate ways almost 15 years ago. While Jones decided to take a step back from the limelight and head into the studio as a producer rather than a recording artist, Hayes continued to thrive in the pop world following the disbanding of Savage Garden with regular solo releases where hit singles have followed the talented songsmith and vocalist ever since.
It’s an obvious fact that the band were not the greatest advocates for longevity; from the July ’96 release of I Want You, Savage Garden recorded and toured as a band for a mere 5 years. What they accomplished in such a small amount of time however was nothing short of phenomenal. The bands 2 album catalogue produced some of the most successful and inspirational singles in pop music – from the up-tempo genius of I Want You with its power-pop hooks and nod to cherry-cola to the out of orbit radio hit To The Moon And Back and the fierce Animal Song through to the duos enormously successful ballads like the U.S number one Truly Madly Deeply, Crash and Burn and the title track from their sophomore release, Affirmation and they are all here on this new compilation which serves as a reminder of what the band were all about – finely crafted and timeless pop music that both musically and lyrically, also pushed boundaries.
One of the best things about Savage Garden and the music they created was that they found their sound very early on in their career. Despite both records were recorded in very contrasting settings and circumstances (reports of the band recording separately were frequent and their sophomore coming with the pressure of replicating the success of their debut), the bands effortless ability to produce top-notch tracks without selling out or succumbing to the pressures of the pop sphere is one of their finest accomplishments. They honed in on their talents and produced two immaculate records that are still regarded as a pair of the best pop records in the last few decades the world over. They were also able to swing between contrasting styles with ease. Being able to successfully knock out love drenched ballads like Truly Madly Deeply and then offer fans gritty hits like Break Me Shake Me is not a feat that many acts can pull off as well as Savage Garden did.
Along with all the obvious numbers, the compilation comes packed with each of the bands hit singles as well as a bonus track in the sweet piano-driven shape of She, a demo that was recently unveiled to fans as a teaser in the lead up to the release of the collection and showcases the band at the top of their game. The inclusion of the breezy Santa Monica, the closing track from the band’s debut album, is also a nice touch to the collection and while the number wasn’t released as a single internationally, the track captures the band in their most raw and organic form.
In addition to the music, the new Singles collection also comes hand in hand with a bonus disc containing all of the videos in their various alternative forms which is the cherry on the top to this pretty incredible collection.
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