Sunday, 4 April 2010

Queensland - Truly Madly Savage

I must admit, I've used the fact that I'm blogging about Queensland to go on a major nostalgia trip courtesy of Aussie band Savage Garden.  Mind you, I didn't know that Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones are from Brisbane when I started researching Queensland, so it came as a pleasant surprise.

Savage Garden are a band that has lingered at the edge of my musical taste - what I mean is that I've always been vaguely aware of them, but never been an actual fan.  The fact that I associate Savage Garden with the time I lived in Derry (Northern Ireland), which was 1999, shows how long it took for their music to penetrate my subconscious (they became really big around 1996/97). Also, somehow, when I started listening to their music again this week, I realised that I'd liked individual songs (three in particular) and never really connected them together, as being Savage Garden songs.

Of course their biggest hit will always be Truly Madly Deeply, a (seemingly) classic love song and one that I really associate with one person in particular, who was once very special to me.  Even hearing him play it five times in a row didn't put me off, but only endeared him to me even more, in a way that's only possible when you fancy someone :-)  I made the mistake once of trying to sing this song at a Karaoke (in an attempt to impress this same person) and, what you realise in a moment of sheer horror, in front of a packed pub, is that this seemingly 'slow' song has got an awful lot of words, packed tightly into almost breathless sentences, so you end up rapping, rather unromantically, especially when you don't actually know the words of the song!

This breathless, rapping quality is what makes Savage Garden so good and immediately caught my attention the first time I heard I Want You, their first big hit and the song that made them famous.  Hayes delivers the opening lines at an impressive speed:

Anytime I need to see your face I just close my eyes
And I am taken to a place where your crystal mind and
Magenta feelings take up shelter in the base of my spine
Sweet like a drink of cherry cola

Don't think I'll be trying this one at Karaoke.  Great song though!

Quite predictably, the third Savage Garden song I really like is To the Moon and Back.  I'd never really listened to the words though, not properly anyway, and I've realised that the lyrics are actually quite dark - it's a song about loneliness and feeling that the rest of the world doesn't understand you.  No doubt if I had been a teenager when Savage Garden made it big, I would have clung to the words with a sense of angst that you can only really have in your teenage years.  In that sense, like many bands before them, Savage Garden has no doubt meant so many things to many people around the world and I'm sure their lyrics have helped people get through hard times, provided the soundtrack for love affairs and the opportunity for many disastrous karaoke attempts.

I was a Goth in my teenage years, clinging to the words and music of The Cure and I see elements of this in Savage Garden's music.  Indeed the name, Savage Garden, is taken from Anne Rice's book The Vampire Chronicles and the quotation;

The mind of each man is a savage garden.

It is an incredibly cool  name and, in a world of constant revivals, will no doubt continue to fascinate people, well into the 21st century.  Not to mention the fact that they are probably the biggest-selling band ever to come out of Queensland (and Australia!). 

If I was to take it a step further, I would say that 'the savage garden' is an apt metaphor for the Australian outback - an environment that is unforgiving in the cycles of survival, but one that has, in some ways, been tamed by the European (and other) settlers who came to live there.

One footnote (of minor importance) - I was really surprised to find out that Darren Hayes was straight.  I'd always presumed he was gay.  As soon as I found out he'd been married to a woman, then it turns out that he is gay after all! 

Image credits:

The image of the Queensland flag has been created for Wikimedia Commons by user Denelson83 who is male and comes from Vancouver Island. He has contributed a lot of flag images to Wikimedia Commons, so thanks Denelson83 for sharing these with the world!

It's incredibly difficult to get copyright-free images of celebs on the internet, so I have embedded some YouTube videos instead.  Apologies to those readers who are receiving this by email, as you will only be able to view the videos online.

For lyrics I often use - it's a website I've used since my teaching days and has generally been reliable, although I do listen to the songs to check the lyrics as well.
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