Last to Know (S Kipner/S Hosein/D De Villier) 1999 and Be There With You (A Tierney/ P Begaud/M Tierney)- Human Nature 2000
During the period 1996-98 Human Nature completed international support tours with Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson and had already scored three top ten national hits – Wishes, (#4 in ‘96) a cover of George Michael’s Last Christmas, (#4 in ’96) and a duet with John Farnham, Every Time You Cry (#3 in ’97). In May 1999 they released Counting Down, their second studio album, a collection of songs which ranged across rhythm and blues, soft pop, dance pop and swing genres and it was their first #1 hit, and ultimately the group would lift no less than six tracks from it that would climb into the top 40 over the next year, setting a record at the time for one album in Australia. Writing and production credits were shared across the songs but Andrew Klippel and Paul Begaud were the lead producers on the album, with the Tierney brothers, Phil Burton and Andrew Klippel, sharing vocal arrangement duties.Several tracks had already been pre-released as singles and were hits – Every Time You Cry and Cruel, (#13 in ’98), the third single lifted from the album was Last to Know co-written by Aussie Steve Kipner (Physical for Olivia Newton-John, Genie In A Bottle for Christina Aguilera, and These Words by Natasha Bedingfield), Sean Hosein and Dane De Villier. It was a classic 1990’s slice of boyband synthpop, Phil Burton and Mike Tierney share lead vocals, and Paul Northcote on synth guitar ensured a smooth forward momentum and relateable groove. The promo video was pure 90’s accessorizing – CD discman headphones, bumbags, Velcro shoulder packs, the ubiquitous puffer jacket, and four girls in zip-front minis alternately luring and dancing with the boys, it was bland boyband music but peaked at #19 and occupied the charts for nineteen weeks.
Don’t Cry took the group back into the charts in July for a #18 hit, and they followed up with a successful cover of the Bangles 1989 hit Eternal Flame, which entered the top ten in October and charted for 25 weeks, Shake You Outta My Head became the fifth consecutive top 40 hit for the band when it peaked at #10 in November.They followed it with the Tierney brothers and Paul Begaud composition Be There With You in March 2000. It was a pop ballad straight from the boyband playbook which had been so effectively worked over by the Backstreet Boys, Take That, Boyz 2 Men, and West Life, it climbed to #33.
By now the band were working on their third studio album, eponymously-titled and destined to take the group in a new direction.