I can forgive Delta Goodrem for the five year wait in between albums. Her promise for the best songs she’s ever written rings true on Child of the Universe (incidentally, also the best album title I’ve heard all year)
Sure, it's peppered with jabs at ex Brian McFadden (“Go live your life and find another wife, take her to that stupid restaurant you like” she sings on ‘I Lost All Love 4 You’) but few can strike the balance between pop, whimsy and scorn as Goodrem does. Who else could get away with uptempo songs about butterflies (literally) flapping their wings (‘Touch’) next to tear-jerking ballads ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘I’m Not Ready’?
The title track’s organic song textures, subtle electronics and Kate Bush vocal flourishes and chord changes are Delta Goodrem at her best. Where she seemed uneasy floating between singer-songwriter and trend-chasing popstar on her self-titled third album, Delta owns every inch of risk and eccentricity here. She’s never sounded this joyous (‘Sitting on Top of the World’, ‘Hypnotized’) or contemplative (‘The Speed of Life’, closer ‘Control’) while the brooding ‘Hunters and the Wolves’ ranks amongst the best songs Goodrem has made.
One too many love-gone-wrong ballads (Nick Jonas co-write ‘Safe to Believe’ is textbook Mariah Carey/Walter Afanasieff) and skipping the single version of ‘Dancing With a Broken Heart’ weigh the album down slightly, but whether she's singing to an ex-lover or her critics (‘Knocked Out’), you’ll always find your way back to Goodrem’s side. It’s been a long wait, but I’m glad to be back on Team Delta.
Child of the Universe is available in stores and online now via Sony.