SavageGarden: 10 years on

I was thinking earlier just how amazing it is that it’s been 10 years since SavageGarden’s first album came out. It really doesn’t feel like that. Their music is still played on the radio all the time, and Darren Hayes’ career is still going well, if not with as much commercial success as when he was part of Savage.

So I listened to SavageGarden again recently (thought I’d rekindle a few memories) and I was surprised at how well the album holds up today. Yes, I Want You and All Around Me couldn’t be more 90s now, but even they are still fun and bring back thoughts of the first time I heard them (and The Matrix for some reason I’ll never understand). But songs like To the Moon & Back, Truly Madly Deeply, Break Me Shake Me haven’t aged much at all. The songwriting is still striking. Now every song you hear is either hip hop or a pop song with a chorus repeated 10 times; something angry and raw like Break Me Shake Me seems to have disappeared from mainstream artists.

Looking back Savage seemed to be one of the first artists to begin the resurgence of prog pop (as the SMH calls it, music which “throws up tunes galore while also presenting material more complex than your standard three-minute radio hit”), which is only now coming more to the fore with Silverchair, Josh Pyke and other artists here in Aus – and they did it 10 years ago. But then Savage won 10 ARIAS for their debut; they had to win them for a reason, right?

It’s still a pity that SavageGarden broke up; I always felt like their best material was still to come (quite something considering how good Affirmation was). But that Daniel Jones in particular showed the initiative to walk away from the success they achieved is even more remarkable, a sign of what really mattered to the group. How many acts could you see doing that now? Not many. Jones has now returned to his roots as a producer, finding fresh talent for his music label Meridien Musik, and Hayes’ third studio album This Delicate Thing We’ve Made is being released later this year.

And for the fans, we still have these two albums, the memories of their music. So congrats to SavageGarden: it’s been 10 years but their music is still just important, just as much a part of the Australian identity, as it’s ever been.

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