It’s been four years since Darren Hayes released an album – though there was the dance outfit We Are Smug. And of course I was excited. Through pain, not complete eagerness, I was awake at 4 am on Friday morning, and decided to check whether Secret Codes and Battleships was available for purchase. I may have been one of the first to buy the album. By 4.15 am, I had purchased the album and was listening to it as I drifted in and out of slumber. I purchased the CD version later that day, too.
I am constantly impressed by Darren’s lyrics. And this album is no exception. It is in my nature to read lyrics deeply, and perhaps due to some of my experiences in these past four or five months, I feel like some of the songs were written about my situation. I was told that the sign of a truly great artist is being able to relate to them. And so I do.
Talk Talk Talk, Black Out the Sun, Bloodstained Heart and Hurt particularly resonate with me. The lyrics of Don’t Give Up are probably the most poignant –
“and i want to run away from this but i’d never leave a sinking ship
without you in it there’s no point to our story
well i can’t believe it’s come to this
all our secret codes and battleships
without you in it there’s no point to our story”
Another favourite of mine is Siren’s Call. It reminds me of whales. Just beautiful. And the versions of Talk Talk Talk and Black Out the Sun performed in the attic are beautiful too.
The album, like Darren’s previous two solo releases, is themed. Secret Codes and Battleships carries the theme of the sea and love lost – with metaphors of the sea scattered through the songs. It’s a lyrically dark album, but sonically uplifting. While I probably wouldn’t dance to this album, it is certainly a pleasant listen. His vocal range is pretty amazing, though I prefer the sound of his lower notes.
Darren is a honest lyricist, and on first listen it is easy to wonder whether he has written about the break up of his relationship. But in reading recent articles and listening to interviews, he states that the album is based on seeing other peoples’ relationships falling apart, and also the demise of a friendship.
I am seeing Darren live in just over a week, twice, and can’t wait to watch him play this new album live, and rekindle the old songs.