Snarly, raw, humorous and wrapped in elements of punk, rock and pop. Imbruglia flexes her songwriting muscle with an album that impresses.
YMR Album Rating: **** (4/5)
The album starts energetically with ‘Tricks’ – a bright sounding pop song, complete with Imbruglia’s harmonious vocal and guitar riff. ‘The Creep’ sounds like a fused combination of Courtney Barnett and AC/DC. And what a delightful amalgam! Rawness abounds with Imbruglia lamenting about an ex that has definitely caused her heartache – to make things worse she hangs in circles where she still sees this person. A pure snarly vocal with Imbruglia spewing forth “There’s something broken in me/I guess I need therapy…if after five long years/You still give me the creeps“.
‘Give Boys Pink Toys’ is a short song, with the lyric “When she’s walking home at a quickened pace/It’s not cos she’s participating in a race” – a startling lyric that highlights the fact that men are the ones that perpretrate horrendous violence against women. Horrifying. What makes these odious men commits these crimes – how do we rewire boys not to commit these acts in manhood? A short song, but provoking so much thought.
The endearing snarliness of the album continues with ‘You’re Shit’ – and then suddenly the gear shifts to a hazy vibe of The Cure and My Bloody Valentine with ‘Diptych’ – an intoxicatingly beautiful track immersed in such romanticism and pain – could it be about unrequited love? The image of a diptych coupled with love, fear and yearning, “You tell me you feel it too/I’m still scared of you/Tell me you feel the same“. This song is an album highlight, deceptively simple, but pulls you under its swirling spell.
‘CBT’ – assuming that CBT is for “cognitive-behavioural therapy” – shows Imbruglia’s self-depreciating humour and her songwriting talent. Singing “I’m cis/I’m middle class/ And I’m white‘ and feeling like a “a cat that’s fallen in a bath” – that constant pull of wanting something more, feeling a bit fucked up, and wanting someone to love. The song is complete with a George Harrison-esque guitar solo and gorgeous harmonies . The humour continues with ‘Now I’m Mum’ with Imbruglia pondering “I could think of three good men to knock me up” – it reminds me of the endless conversations I have had with my single female friends around sperm shopping!
That snarl returns with ‘Shame’ and I can’t but help think of those middle-aged, white politicians that are pathetically stuck in suspension, particularly on climate change with Imbruglia singing “Getting off getting in the way/Waddling wildlife in swift decay/Pretty soon you’re entombed and behind plate glass“.
Scared Of You ends with the song ‘Causal’ – another raw song dealing (seemingly) about unrequited love. That line between reality and fantasy, and Imbruglia providing the perfect line “Make me aware that you care/Did I just imagine something that’s not there?“. Sublime.
Scared Of You exemplifies Imbruglia as a songwriting talent – a fearless songwriter that apposes the raw, the personal and commentary about her world. And the experience is immensely enjoyable.