Darren Hayes’ second solo album, The Tension And The Spark, was infinitely better than his first, Spin, but largely failed to set the charts on fire. So now his record company is pursuing the inevitable commercial course: whipping up a Savage Garden greatest hits compilation, Truly Madly Completely, just in time for the ever-lucrative Christmas market.
While the band only released two albums before breaking up, they did actually have enough singles success to make the concept of a greatest hits album less laughable than one involving, say, Sabrina. Indeed, some fans online have criticised the fact that not every single has been included (‘Universe’ and ‘Chained To You’ are the obvious exclusions, though I’m personally not worried by the former’s exclusion).
Instead — and in the absence of any attempt to get the band to reform — what we get are two new Darren Hayes tracks, ‘So Beautiful’ and ‘California’, plus five B-sides which form an almost-complete selection of the band’s non-album tracks. For no obvious reason that I can discern, however, ‘Memories Are Designed To Fade’, one of my favourite SG obscurities, has been excluded.
‘So Beautiful’ is also set for single release, and will apparently appear on a new Hayes album due next year as well. Whether this kind of cross-marketing will help it sell better than Tension is another matter.
Of course, none of this is going to stop me from buying the compilation, but I can’t help but imagine that we’ll be subjected to a more comprehensive anthology in a few years time. In the meantime, this release might finally give me an incentive to update the long-moribund track-by-track listing for the band I started so many moons ago. But don’t let the anticipation kill you.