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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius.
This is the only album which has earned Hayes deserved respect from his peers and his industry.

This work is a far cry from his days as Savage Garden front man, and distances him even further from his intial solo effort 'Spin'. Whereas 'Spin' saw Hayes attempting to recreate the trademark Savage Garden sound, with an R&B edge, 'The Tension And The Spark' sees...
Published on 20 July 2006 by L. Byrne

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not Spin II
After hearing some of Darren's solo work, I decided to treat myself to both his solo albums. I received The Tension & the Spark first and found it's not a pure pop album full of radio friendly hits. It begins with `Darkness', a song which has been well received from most reviews I've read. This song didn't grab me though. I prefer `Light' (oh, the irony). Stand out...
Published on 19 July 2006 by nerfeezah


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius., 20 July 2006
By 
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
This is the only album which has earned Hayes deserved respect from his peers and his industry.

This work is a far cry from his days as Savage Garden front man, and distances him even further from his intial solo effort 'Spin'. Whereas 'Spin' saw Hayes attempting to recreate the trademark Savage Garden sound, with an R&B edge, 'The Tension And The Spark' sees him soar as a singer and defines him as an astounding songwriter.

The album sees Hayes breathtaking vocals swim over a sea of elctronica which reflects the gritty emotional lyrics superbly.

The disc chronicles what has obviously been a difficult period for Hayes, with songs such as "Darkness" "Unlovable" and "Void" relating an acute depth unlikely to be found in most contemporary releases. However, the album is not bleak, and sees Hayes turning to hope in tracks such as "Feel" and "Light", commenting on modern day celebrity with the satirical "Pop!ular" and even the development of his own persona throughout his career in "Ego".

Long-term Hayes/Savage Garden fans should not expect to be disappointed, he retains his unquestionable vocal quality and furthers his range, higher and lower than ever, and still manages to include a heart-felt ballad in the form of "Dublin Sky". Even fans he won over with Spin, can expect to be entertained with the thumping throbbing beats of "I Like The Way" and "Love and Attraction".

The nature of this album's emminence is to be found in the bold change of direction for Hayes, and what is undoubtedly his best work yet.

This album is a triumph.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shockingly original and searingly painfuly beautiful, 20 Aug 2004
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
From the first few notes of the first song, Darkness, you know that this is totaly different from any of Darrens previous work both solo and in Savage Garden. However, this is most certainly a positive thing. The music is most definetely electronic, but this, rather than detracting from, adds to the deeply personal lyrical content of the songs and creates music which is very original and beautiful. Perhaps most suprising is the lack of ballads. However, this is made up by the multitude of beautiful songs such as 'Unlovable' which is almost an anti-ballad in its lyrical content but just as beautiful as a Darren ballad in the trademark Darren vocal. POP!Ular is the most 'pop' record on the album which eases the public into the new electronic sound but doesn't really prepare you for the massive departure which is 'The Tension and the Spark'. Any Darren fan will buy this immediately - but I'd recommend it for anybody who likes listening to deeply personal and beautiful music.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost for words!, 18 Aug 2004
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
Since Spin, Darren must have been to hell and back. He's partied hard, and this is his hangover album. It's a very personal album and all the better for it. This is an album of someone growing up and finally taking responsibility for his actions.
The album is full of electronica - 80's synth styles to squelchy beats - this could have gone horribly wrong but it's been done VERY stylishly. I suppose it's the only thing Darren could have done after his time in Savage Garden and his first album Spin. This is new territory for Mr Hayes, but he seems to be finding his way around very well indeed.
I won't review each track - but here's a few of my faves:
'Darkness' is an inspired opener for this album - a deep, dark and brooding confession of self loathing and misplacement. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to this one track over and over again (usually with a tear in my eye - kind of struck a chord I guess). This track alone has put Darren in a different league.
'Unlovable' is another track which will surprise you - a blistering attack in almost rap fashion (don't worry - it works) to an ex.
'I Forgive You' is a great beast of a F*** YOU track - the dirty bass beats and distorted vocals make this one fantastic track.
'Feel' could be Bjork (before the vocals obviously) - a series of blips, clicks and synths. Another great track.
'Sense of Humour' is a track George Michael would have killed for on Patience.
The 'Ray of Light' comparison from another review surprised me before I heard this - but now I have, it probably sums it up perfectly. To say Darren wrote AND produced this himself is amazing. I can see some very meaty dance remixes coming out for most of this album, and I'll be first on the dancefloor.
Just to be balanced, I'll give a negative comment now: If I had a problem with Darren Hayes - it's his lack of timing. I remembered thinking on his last album how some of the songs are just too long - they drag on and on, and the same is true to some extent here.
All in all, a well deserved and well earned five stars. No going back to boy band territory now Darren - you're a man now...
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey out of darkness...., 27 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
If you think you know this artist... think again. Now and then an album breaks the surface of your complacency and rattles your beliefs and shakes up everything you've previously held true... and this is such an album. Darren Hayes is not a "new" artist. You can't have lived through the 90's without being affected by his way with a ballad. And yet everything he does on this album IS new. It's electronic in inception...but not the chilly Euro-tech sort of electronic you may have come to associate with the term. Hayes proves that there IS soul in the machine. It's organic in performance (you may not recognise the name but you'll certainly recognise the voice) and unexpected in sound. The melodic turns and flourishes you might remember from his previous work are still there (but skewed and given a much harder, leaner edge), and all the lyrical depth... and more. Much more. Above all, this is a work of brutal honesty, intensely personal, inward-focusing, about the contrast between the light in our lives and the dark that sometimes eclipses it. Not an easy listen. In fact, there are parts that will test your tolerance, break your heart, and leave you questioning the very nature of happiness. Illusion? Disillusion? Impossibility? You'll be surprised, and reassured, by the end.
So, after all that... how does it SOUND? Like the album Darren Hayes was always meant to make. In other words... not like anything else you've ever heard.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark to Light, 5 Feb 2005
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
'Tension and the Spark'
Darren Hayes has progressed as a songwriter, and an artist as his new solo album clearly shows. The beginning song "Darkness", a story about life, how you get lost, and how the thing you fear most is yourself. "Darkness is the introduction to the subject matter that is the central theme of my new album" comments Hayes. "Here I am in Darkness.. at Zero, at my lowest point and yet still I'm searching for hope in the darkness."
The singer/songwriter abandons polished pop ballads for raw sounds and emotions to describe his "personal journey from darkness into light."
Hayes confesses a wide spectrum of sentiments from forgiveness to misery to confusion, all with dark, primal undertones.
In one song, "Unlovable," he reveals his honest vulnerability through heartbreaking lyrics like "You made me feel like my father never loved me." In another, called "Pop!ular," he takes a satirical look at the desperation to obtain celebrity. All the while, Hayes experiments with pop and electronica, which to some could sound overproduced with the excess of strange beats, but which I think adds complexity and energy to many tracks.
In another song written by Hayes, "Feel". The most simple song on the album and the most effective. The purest lyrics sang with such sincerity. Hayes teams up with Marius De Vries (Madonna's Ray Of Light, Bjork, The Moulin Rouge" and Mark "Spike" Stent (Bjork, Madonna, Massive Attack, Depeche Mode). Their advanced production & mixing skills give this album a complex and rich sound. Also co-writer and producer of the album Robert Conley who worked with Hayes on his last solo album "Spin" projestc his own unique style into the music.

Elsewhere Darren has created an album that pulsates with sexy rhythms ('I Like The Way'), majestic ballads ('Dublin Sky') and awe-inspiring experimentation ('Void'), and never once disappoints.
What stands out most on The Tension and The Spark is the record's psychologically complex and deeply personal subject matter. "It's an album that describes a personal journey from darkness into light," Darren explains. "From blame to forgiveness and, finally, to the acceptance that everything, even misery, happens for a reason. And at the end of the day, there is a light at the end of the tunnel".
Hayes is fast becoming one of the most interesting characters in music. His ability to adapt to numerous styles and create music way beyond the realms of most of his peers is quite an achievement and makes 'The Tension And The Spark' one of the most exciting pop albums of the year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius., 21 July 2006
By 
This review is from: Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
This is the only album which has earned Hayes deserved respect from his peers and his industry.

This work is a far cry from his days as Savage Garden front man, and distances him even further from his intial solo effort 'Spin'. Whereas 'Spin' saw Hayes attempting to recreate the trademark Savage Garden sound, with an R&B edge, 'The Tension And The Spark' sees him soar as a singer and defines him as an astounding songwriter.

The album sees Hayes breathtaking vocals swim over a sea of elctronica which reflects the gritty emotional lyrics superbly.

The disc chronicles what has obviously been a difficult period for Hayes, with songs such as "Darkness" "Unlovable" and "Void" relating an acute depth unlikely to be found in most contemporary releases. However, the album is not bleak, and sees Hayes turning to hope in tracks such as "Feel" and "Light", commenting on modern day celebrity with the satirical "Pop!ular" and even the development of his own persona throughout his career in "Ego".

Long-term Hayes/Savage Garden fans should not expect to be disappointed, he retains his unquestionable vocal quality and furthers his range, higher and lower than ever, and still manages to include a heart-felt ballad in the form of "Dublin Sky". Even fans he won over with Spin, can expect to be entertained with the thumping throbbing beats of "I Like The Way" and "Love and Attraction".

The nature of this album's emminence is to be found in the bold change of direction for Hayes, and what is undoubtedly his best work yet.

This album is a triumph.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 18 Sep 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
This is perhaps Darren Hayes' best work to date. Being a fan of both Savage Garden albums, plus Darren's first solo album, Spin, I had high expectations for this album, and he has certainly delivered, with a brand new sound and the most influential and personal lyrics I have ever heard from him or any other artist.
The first single 'Pop!ular' is really the black sheep of the album and although I think it's great, there are better songs on the album.
Personal favorites include first track 'Darkness', 'Dublin Sky' and 'Unlovable', but all tracks have their value and the entire album works so well. The sound may seem a little odd and hard to get used to at first, but give it a chance and you'll see that Hayes has created the most original and inspired album this year.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sparkling Album!!!, 27 Sep 2004
By 
J. M. Smekar (Michigan, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
I have to say this album is THE best Darren has done in terms of vocals and lyrics here. For me being a writer too, reading the lyrics book as I was listening to the cd, more of songs have grown on me, and more I listen to them the more I will enjoy them.
At a Listening Party after one listen a few tracks really stood out to me: Dublin Sky, Darkness, Unlovable, I like the way and I forgive you. The rest were in the middle and would grow on me eventually.
Now that I have listened properly one time through (and have cd on repeat in my player), the following tracks in order of my favorites: Dublin Sky, I like the way, Darkness Popular, Unlovable, I Forgive You, and Hero.
The rest are growing on me slowly as I listen to them more: Light, Love & Attraction, Feel, Void, Ego, and Sense of Humor.
This is an album that is a must have for anyone who appreciates good music and lyrics.
The electronic musical parts may not be all people's thing but its secondary and not important to me personally. Its an album that will really appeal to many because it has mature themes to it that most people can relate to for sure: heartbreak, darkness, betrayal, loss, and from the bad times, light and love will come your way for sure.
If I had to pick the next song as the next single, I'd pick Dublin Sky - its got an acoustic feel, and a slower tempo song that people except from Darren. But its not a typical love song either but a song about looking back and having some regrets & more but also looking back with fondness on the good times of a failed relationship.
Run don't walk to the nearest store or website, and get it this cd... its so worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-invention at its very best!!, 23 Dec 2004
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
Having been a fan of Darren through his Savage Garden years upto the present day, this album is something I would never have imagined him to release. The album starts with "Darkness", the second single from the album which will be released next year, and from the opening chord, you know it is going to be personal. His voice just gets better and better throughout the record. His lyrics tie themselves to your memories and provoke thoughts that no other artist has done before. Darren Hayes has gone beyond the realms of his previous material, and co-written and co-produced the album he was born to make. With songs like "Unlovable", "Void" and "Feel", Darren shows us how lyrically gifted he really is and how "Pop Music" was just something he happened to be doing for the last decade. He sticks to his roots with "Love and Attraction" and the hit single "Pop!ular", but even then the songs contain the lyrics you would expect from such a phenomenal album.
The man NME labelled "a genius" will unfortunately not receive the media coverage and praise he so rightly deserves for this album, however if you are lucky enough to own this cd, you will have a piece of music that will connect with you, that will never grow old and will leave you needing a new stereo system due to over-use.
In two words, this album can only be described as..... TRULY OUTSTANDING.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up, 16 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Tension and the Spark (Audio CD)
I am lucky enough to have recieved an advance copy of this album.I have to say that it is even better than his first solo album Spin.The songs show a new depth while still keeping the flair that Darren is known for.
The stand out tracks are I Like The Way,Light,Popular and Unlovable while the song of the album that is Feel.It is an amazing ballad that just stuns you.
A great follow up to Spin which in some ways surpasses the first album.
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