It takes a lot – talent and then some – to sustain a nearly 40 year career in the music industry. In a recent performance, Colin Hay illustrated why he is on that list.
In fact, I’d argue that he has gotten better. Sure, his classic Men at Work hits are deservedly ubiquitous. Hay didn’t disappoint by playing “Down Under,” “Who Can It Be Now” and “Overkill” to a thrilled crowd. He also took the time to explain the songs, most notably explaining the political message behind “Down Under” before admitting that “In the end, a lot of people just drink beer to it.”
The enlightening aspect of the show, however, was the juxtaposition of those songs with his more recent work. There’s a depth and complexity that, although inherent in his earlier catalog, is fully realized now. The topics tend to be thoughtful and mature, reflections on life lived and happiness pursued (but perhaps not always found).
Fierce Mercy, Hay’s latest release, is a gem. Songs like “A Thousand Million Reasons,” “Secret Love,” “The Last To Know” and “Come Tumblin’ Down” (one of my 2017 faves) crackle with seasoned pop goodness. And this is also one of those rare times when I’d wholeheartedly recommend going with the deluxe edition. Hay defies industry norm by including a couple of tracks that ring out as gloriously as the proper release.
As those who have seen him in concert would agree, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that Hay’s between song monologues are comedic gold. If he wasn’t performing music, he’d certainly be ripe for the comedy circuit.
For those who are unable to see Hay in concert, something I’d recommend, here’s a mini-set of songs from the latest release.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.