RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Colin Hay – Fierce Mercy
Compass Records

Rating: B+

Best known as the crazy-eyed lead singer/songwriter/guitarist for 1980s Australian pop sensation Men at Work, Colin Hay is proving himself, with each solo release, to be a very salty songsmith.  While neither his songs, nor his steps, are as bouncy these days as “Who Can It Be Now” or “Down Under” he is maturing and deeply reflective on his latest effort Fierce Mercy. 

“Secret Love” demonstrates the maturity in both his craft and in life that Hay has achieved.  The song tugs at the heartstrings, yet also beckons to the nostalgia of the listeners’ own past secret crushes.  “A Thousand Million Reasons” will bring a tear to the eye of anyone who has spent any time on this earth and endured the many trials and tribulations that life has to offer.  “The Best in Men” has a hint of Men at Work, albeit a grown-up-and-weathered-the-storm version of the band. At times this album is very introspective as the sublime “Frozen Fields of Snow” exhibits.  The opening track, “Come Tumblin’ Down” is one of the best songs Hay has had to offer in many moons, showing he still has the fierce mercy inside himself to craft an infectious pop tune.

Hay still has that sound -and that voice- that sets him apart from the pack.  His emotions come across clearly, yet he is far from wearing them on his sleeve.  Instead of throwing it all out there, the emotional impact of these songs is delivered with the wisdom of someone who has been there and done that and lived to tell the tale.  Hay is singing about humanity.  He is singing about life.  He understands where he has been and where he is right now... although he may still be wondering where he is going to end up.  One can bet that no matter where he lands he will have a guitar on his lap, a notepad nearby and a new song on the tip of his tongue as well as his fingertips.  This guy simply does not, and has never, received all of the accolades he is due for his mastery of the creative process.

“When you’re in your 20s, you think you’ve got all the time in the world,” Hay said. “You get older, and you go through a quickening. Everything seems to get faster.”

True words spoken from a man who has been down under, and on top of the world.  In 2017, he is somewhere in between, reflecting on it all and allowing us to ponder things that are, things that could have been and still could be, along with him.

This is the best of his solo efforts, hands down.  This writer could do without the rapping on “I’m Walking Here”...  but the rest of the album? Solid as a rock!

1. Come Tumblin’ Down
2. Secret Love
3. A Thousand Million Reasons
4. The Best in Me
5. Frozen Fields of Snow
6. The Last to Know
7. I’m Going to Get You Stoned
8. I’m Walking Here
9. Two Friends
10. She Was the Love of Mine

By Jeb “I Love Vegemite” Wright