TV talent show contestants who go on to enjoy long careers in the music biz are rare, but Jessica Mauboy is still going strong after finding fame in 2006 on Australian Idol. This month she dropped her fourth album, titled after her middle name, Hilda.
Opening track Blessing is full of sass; Mauboy sings “You should know that I’m a blessing/I’m not gonna waste a breath on you/You should’ve known I was your best and/I don’t wanna save a prayer for you,”over a finger click-heavy R’n’B track.
Musically, the record feels a bit predictable: Come Runnin’ plays with the pop sounds of Clean Bandit, Selfish is very Ed Sheeran-esque, and EDM banger Who We’re Meant To Be, although decent, is more like a Miley Cyrus song. But there are some quirky moments – like the synth-pop track Better, and the groove-sounding Jealous.
Lead single Little Things sees Mauboy recall her Aussie Idol days with an over-emotive piano ballad, but it’s Butterfly that feels most sincere. The track gradually evolves instrumentally and emotionally into a weighty but catchy, heartfelt tune, and alongside optimistic closer Wish You Well, is one of the record’s highlights.
This comeback certainly isn’t ground-breaking, but it’s her ability to pack in dense lyrical passages alongside memorable melodies, that show us the full extent of Mauboy’s talent.