Heart Hypnotic (D Goodrem/R Tedder/N Zancanella/J Franks/P Ighile/V Pizzinga) – 2013 and Wings (D Goodrem/A Egizii/D Musumeci) and Dear Life (D Goodrem/A Egizii/D Musumeci) – Delta Goodrem 2015
In June 2013 eight months after the release of her fourth album Child of the Universe, Goodrem released the single Heart Hypnotic, a Europop-style disco outing that lacked the catchy hooks and beats required to ignite the dancefloor. It was presumed to be a pre-released single off what would be her next album, the record charted #7 locally and sold 35,000 copies but failed to resonate in global markets, despite the efforts of 6 co-writers to create the 3.25m song, so Team Delta decided that it would not be part of her next studio album.
Wings of the Wild was Goodrem’s fourth studio album and despite the failure of her previous two efforts which had cumulatively sold only 70,000 copies, she persisted with the “more is better” approach to songwriting and producing, with no less that 10 producers credited on the album, including herself, as well as numerous songwriters.
It seemed that Delta was still determined to ensure that she got her share of the ever-diminishing pool of royalties flowing from her music, as she was credited as co-writer on 11 of the 12 songs, and now for the first time as co-producer on seven tracks; it took 6 people to write the hip hop-inflected Enough, which was only 4.28m in length, and a comparatively modest four to compose Feline and I Believe In A Thing Called Love which was a cover of the 2003 hit for the English hard rock band Darkness.
On June 2016 Delta had announced the album’s title and described its themes of wildness, rawness, and freedom, there would be an absence of romantic relationships, and the iconic cover artwork depicted Delta striding out along a beach with a tiger. Would Delta and her army of tunesmiths really be able to strip away the self-absorbed preoccupation of her past albums, avoid the genre-hopping experimentation that had only served to distract from the truth and clarity that had so epitomized her debut album, had she discovered the power and beauty of an artful metaphor, and did her legion of collaborators really earn their keep ? Sadly the answer to all these questions, with only a few reservations, was no.
Wings of the Wild was intended as yet another stepping stone to reclaiming the position she held with her 2003 debut, Innocent Eyes, as a seriously-talented singer/songwriter with a fierce ambition, frightening levels of control for a teenager, and a winning way with an anthemic ballad with rallying vocals and an uplifting chorus. But twelve years later we were still waiting for the Aussie Queen of self-help mantras and self-actualizing pop songs, to shift up a gear, and really deliver on her early promise. Feline the opening track was Delta’s declaration of assertiveness, she was once the darling of the general media and of a public not yet free to unleash online, but Goodrem had been trolled on social media and demonized by tabloids, and now declared that she was the prey, not the hunter and warned others like her that “it doesn’t matter what you do, they’ll be hunting you, trap you like an animal,” as public scrutiny, and a stuttering career, manifested itself in feelings of victimization.
The biggest single taken off the album was Wings, an up-tempo power pop song that used heavy percussion, keyboards, piano, guitar and strings to deliver a real dancefloor banger, the video was also very effective, as an incandescent Delta sang about self-empowerment as spinning pianos, doves, ballet dancers, and heavy- duty wind machines combined to create one of Delta’s best pop songs and music videos in years. It was a #1 hit locally and sold 140,000 copies, while the much-anticipated album Wings of the World hit #1 locally and #8 in NZ, with total sales of 35,000, but failed to chart in either the US or UK.
Dear Life was another anthem about accepting change and rising to the challenges that life presents “Time will change you, nothing lasts forever, tomorrow’s all we’re living for”, but it just resonated with all the banality and triteness of the teen-romance-derived adolescent anthems that she had been churning out for too long, it charted #3 locally and sold 35,000 copies. Below L-R – Neighbours Ramsay St. Reunion, Delta in her original role as Nina Tucker (2002), Delta in Reunion Special (2015)
On March 16 2015, Network 10 aired Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, a 90 minute “documentary” which featured a parade of current and former cast members reminiscing about the show and their favourite memories. Neighbours had been a very influential soapie which entranced a huge British viewing public, with 13 million viewers per night during the 1980’s, and the show kickstarted the careers of such performers as Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce, Jason Donovan, Margot Robbie, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Craig McLachlan, Daniel McPherson, and of course Delta Goodrem. Delta had appeared on the show as Nina Tucker in 2002 in the role of a shy young girl aspiring to a career in music, in a role obviously custom-made for the ambitious young singer, the 30th anniversary show had nostalgia value, but didn’t rate very well, and the original audition tapes of Minogue, Pearce and Donovan, were probably the highlights. Below – Delta’s Hollywood Hills home.
In 2015 Delta was putting her Hollywood Hills home on the market after acquiring it for USD $3.1m in 2009, the five-bedroom Mediterranean style house featured such must-haves as an 8-car garage, a recording studio, two kitchens and four ovens, a white marble staircase and foyer, pool, spa, firepit, waterfalls and fountains, and she offloaded it for USD$3.4m. Below L-R Delta and Drew Mitchell, Andy Lee, and Hugh Sheridan.
Following her return to Sydney from LA, Delta began dating former Wallabies player Drew Mitchell in 2016, but after six months the pair split citing pressure of work commitments, and the fact that he was living and playing in France, and she had recording, performing, and The Voice commitments back here in Australia. Although they had both apparently agreed not to comment publicly about the split, subsequent comments attributed to Delta or her management were that Mitchell was “not her speed, too blokey, boring, and preferred to hang out with his mates at Bondi”, it was reported that Delta “phoned in” her intention to end the relationship with Mitchell. Around this time Delta would date actor Hugh Sheridan and comedian Andy Lee, as she eyed off prestige Sydney real estate, to become her new Aussie bolthole, after having sold her Wooloomooloo finger wharf apartment there in 2014 for $1.7m. Below – Goodrem’s new penthouse apartment in Darlinghurst (Syd)
Delta joined the cast of the Sydney production of Cats in 2015, in the role of Grizabella, the glamour cat, Cats was one of the unstoppable shows to emerge from the West End in the 1980’s and was quickly followed by Les Miserables, and Phantom of the Opera. Based on a retelling of TS Elliot’s volume of poetry Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, it was a whimsical take on prose that was nonsensical, and provided neither a real plot nor definable narrative; as a candidate for revival as a production thirty years later, it had not aged well. But Goodrem excelled in her role, she made a tentative entrance in the first act as a cat scorned by her community, possibly channeling her experience with Twitter trolls during the first season of the Voice, or just imagining that every other cat was Jessie J. But her act two showstopper Memory was superb, her vocals were warm, strong, memorable and she had always been able to hit the back wall of a theatre with that emphatic soprano voice, the show ran throughout 2015-16 and possibly indicated a future career path for Delta in musicals.