Roll credits on a 90’s sitcom.
Or, imagine an alternate reality where Michael Bolton grew up listening to The Dust Brothers and sound tracked 2002’s coming of age drama “A Walk to Remember”.
Or, imagine a romance novelist is struck by lightning and miraculously revives to find Jesus gave him the ability to play guitar.
Or imagine an infomercial selling an album to benefit your grandma’s favorite charity.
Somewhere in between all these fantasies is “Revisited”, latest recording by Australian singer songwriter Andy Michaels, and be washed in the uplifting emissions of a truly contemporary adult.
Postured as soulfully relaxing “Revisited” sounds like it should be sold next to bath milk, scented candles, and a collection of books made into Lifetime movies.
Enter “Today’s Tomorrow”, the R.EM. -esque anthem wherein Michaels tells us “even if there is no answer I still have the right to ask; even if the road is narrow I still have the right to pass”. Strumming along he then informs us that “yesterday was today’s tomorrow”, demonstrating a philosophically progressive embrace of non-linear time. Indeed, there may be no answer to this Zen-riddle of a chorus, but Michaels apparently knows his rights.
With storm crack and descending wind chime, “Angel”, featuring Kerrie Ironside, sunbursts next on the scene. “You are my angel,” croons Ironside. “Sing to heaven, I can’t wait for you to sing to me, you’ll sing to me”, confident she can rival the audience of heaven, Ironside delivers an impassioned vocal performance.
On “Just Because U Love Someone” Michaels and Ironside duet a pop-cowboy ballad of unrequited love. “How can I ride through the canyon alone, with just you on my mind?” the duo ponders. Unfolding to suggest that our friend-zoned hero has much to ponder, “just because you touch someone, doesn’t mean they want to hold you” is offered as revelation.
The darkness of insistence is tempted in the quivering eerie of “I Just Want To Be the One”. Here, Ironside offers ghostly wobbles alongside a strobing industrial beat and minor key cellos while Michaels makes it really, really, clear that he wants “to be the one”. One is reminded of recordings from Nine Inch Nails, but slightly less threatening.
Check out my new video "Lucretia's Eylandt" !https://t.co/Q5QwCaXESO
I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did making it !
— Andy Michaels (@AndysMusicCo) May 3, 2018
The rest of the album continues much in the same way, dripping with production value spent on nostalgic drum samples, air choirs, and a touch of auto-tune that drapes like a lace veil around the songwriting.
Other standouts include “Back to Me”, which utilizes the tone of Middle Eastern percussion with intrigue, “Where Are You Now”, a well-plucked remembering of a young daughter that has been lost, and “Lucretia’s Elyandt”, a mold-breaking melody featuring Sharon Court that tells the story of a concubine signing “If I were a whale, I’d feel no pain, cos’ I’d have the strength to carry the strain”.
Yes, “Revisited” is in a league of its own manufacturing, hard to place among other albums of this decade, ripe with the low-hanging themes of love, loss, and heaven, innocent as the giggling children sampled for song intros. Andy Michaels has made something like cream cheese frosting: aged, confectionary, and smothered over a bunch of sweet, empty calories.