2004 Album Review :: Sarah Blasko ‘The Overture and the Underscore’
August 20th 2013
On August 29, FBi hits double digits. To celebrate, the Flog is taking a trip down memory lane: we’re counting down 10 years of albums in 10 days. Part deux sees us in October 2004…
2004 :: Sarah Blasko – The Overture & The Underscore
I find it hard to believe there was once a time when Sarah Blasko didn’t exist in our collective musical consciousness. These songs have a permanence, an enduring quality that makes me feel I’ve known them forever.
By now her early albums are classics and her covers of the likes of Outkast and Cold Chisel have polarised fans and critics…
But a mere nine years ago, The Overture and the Underscore was a new horizon to be explored.
Confession time – I had a massive celebrity crush on Sarah Blasko when this album came out. I’m certain this was something I kept to myself at the time, not trusting my girlfriend to understand that it was just a music thing.
Something about her vintage style and the way the songs off Overture could be confessional, revelatory, both happy & sad simultaneously. They didn’t try to hide their darkness.
Oh, and she’s really pretty; those eyes staring out from the album cover…
But I digress!
Overture opens on us with the slow, brooding intro of ‘All Coming Back’, seemingly auguring a melancholic, dark soundscape to come. It always felt to me like the kind of song that tails off an album, you know the one you often miss as you fall asleep with the stereo still on. I still do that sometimes, but back in ’04 I was a serial offender and hence many a song has the ethereal, foreboding, dreamlike quality that infuses ‘All Coming Back’.
‘Always Worth It’ switches mood and ups the tempo, while subtly nodding to that feeling of imperfect happiness that I’ve always felt might be the ‘underscore’ the album’s named for. These movements between dark & light, upbeat & sombre, structure the album into what would come to feel like the soundtrack of the next year of my life. Ultimately I can look back and see it as a kind of aural catharsis.
“Always worth it, if only to realise…”
It was the poetry of Overture that dragged me into the music, not the other way around.
It felt like little pieces of half formed ideas were being laid out for me to explore and Blasko was unselfconsciously illuminating her inner world, giving me the space to understand my own thoughts.
The album’s lead single Don’t U Eva dripping with sinister double entendre:
“You’ve got a way with words…”
Here was a warning about how everything we say is steeped in meaning and yet we never seem to appreciate the whole story until it’s too late. Through many relationships I learned to understand and listen to words more carefully.
“Don’t let me in I’ll shut you out…”
Overture reassured me I was listening to something subtle and important, at least to me. Blasko’s lyrics felt personal and as if they were written for something terrible and wonderful all at once.
“You can’t be too sure that your secret life won’t show through…”
Back in ’04 I was at uni pursuing one path, while dreaming of another and ‘Beautiful Secrets’ struck at the heart of the uncertainty and wonder that greeted every questioning moment.
“If only you were at your best, instead of fighting yourself…”
These were songs written completely unconscious of my existence and yet they all fell into my ears pregnant with meaning. I couldn’t help but listen in wonder and take careful inspiration from these moments that seemed written from my own storybook.
Over time many a thing has changed about me and Overture remains a little piece of that evolution. The fact that I’m now writing this for you, shows some of my secret life did show through, but who knows what might happen next.
“Everything is perfect now, I don’t want to make a movement…”