Given her role as one of the most important Australian pop artists, there is a lot riding on the release of Jessica Mauboy’s fourth studio album ‘Hilda’.
There’s been a long lead time for this album to come to life (six long years), with several tracks dropping as singles or promo tracks this year so far.
So what does Jessica Mauboy in 2019 have to say and has the album been worth the wait?
In short yes. This album is an epic piece of storytelling that focuses on Jess’s history and how it’s shaped who she’s become. While she has played a part in songwriting across previous albums, she’s never been quite so raw, honest and believable in her messages. This openness is what makes this album truly sing. It’s been worth waiting for.
Whether it’s going off about being respected and loved (see ‘Blessing’ or ‘Jealous’) or standing up for what’s right (‘Little Things’) these songs have punch. They tug at your heartstrings and create such a strong connection, it’s hard not to fall in love with each of them.
For me, ‘Butterfly’ is among the highlights. Its driving piano riffs and symbolism through personal lyrics make it a strong contender for my favourite track. It stuns in its simplicity yet gives you goosebumps when you listen – much the same with ‘Little Things’ and ‘Just Like You’. It also helps Stuart Crichton (Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Sugababes) had a hand in creating this one too.
The album has a real R&B sound to it which really works. It’s funky and is the perfect medium to extract all these stories. Jess finds a way to capture the listener yet sets ‘Hilda’ up to become a classic Australian album.
Yes, it’s a big call, but I feel that this album is one of the best pop albums this decade full stop. It’s quite a statement for me to make, but honestly I haven’t enjoyed an album like this for a long time and this one deserves the respect it demands.
It’s a credit to Ms Mauboy and her writers that they have bottled something extremely special and brought it to life.
Vocally, Jess nails the delivery across each and every song. Often studio recordings can lose the magic of a live performance, but production values are high and she loses none of the emotion and magic through delivery. This is a credit to the collaborators and showcases how much maturity is on display.
With the album format slowly fading into oblivion as artists focus on playlist adds and the number of streams or views, the respect I have when someone nails an album is high.
Jessica has bravely put herself out there with this collection of songs and it reminds me why the album format is still relevant today.
It’s the opportunity to tell a real and relatable story and with ‘Hilda’ I can’t help but feel privileged to be able to listen.
We should all feel privileged to have Jess share her music with us and support this album.
VERDICT : 5/5.
MUST LISTEN : Little Things, Butterfly, Wish You Well.