Good Or Shit: Razzle Or Dazzle

16 May 2012 | 6:17 pm | Liz Galinovic

Missy Higgins' music is nice if a bit meh.

Missy Higgins is back! Funny isn't it? I didn't even realise she'd gone until the powers that be announced her return. What does that say about the gaping hole she left in my cold, mildly bitter heart?

I used to love Higgins. She's not much older than I am and perhaps that was why upon hearing her first release – 2001's Triple J Unearthed winner All For Believing - I felt my late-teens-early-twenties angst was being addressed: yearning for love, not knowing what the hell you were going to do with your life, wishing your parents understood you better, wishing you understood yourself better, and discovering that the world can be a dark, grimy, disappointing son of a bitch.

My best friend and I would jump in the car and drive into the countryside sharing our feelings while we chain smoked ciggies in between singing along – and by singing along I mean really belting it out – to The Sound of White.

But Higgins' second album was lost on me. Maybe that's because I'm an unusually disloyal fan when it comes to music, much more flakey than most. There are only a handful of artists whose names appear more than once or twice on my CD rack-come-iTunes-player. Or maybe it's because she tried to get happy – something I rarely bother with. Or maybe it's because as I got older and my musical education (via my propensity to get over something and move on to the next) broadened – Higgins just didn't offer enough.

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Listening to old Missy Higgins tunes for the first time in seven or so years made me realise that her songs are, in a nutshell, nice. Nice bit of guitar, nice bit of piano, competent lyrics, nice voice (the accent doesn't bother me). Missy Higgins' music is nice if a bit meh. But these days if I want to listen to pop music that leaves a lasting impression, whether to pep myself up or rip my soul into tiny little agonising pieces, I'd probably listen to Sia. If I wanted mournful, dark, folky tunes I'd probably go for Liz Stringer. And if I wanted a little dancing to go with my mood I'd chuck on Kimbra.

Higgins has cited an existential crisis as part of the reason for her phantom-act from music. And as we are roughly the same age, I can completely empathise. And I'm interested to see what music will come from this crisis particularly as her upcoming album The Ol' Razzle Dazzle is co-produced by one of pop-music's more interesting artists – Butterfly Boucher. The first single to drop is Unashamed Desire – which isn't smacking me in the face however it does have a little more pepper in it than some of her previous dishes. People are gonna love it though. And I guess there is a place for nice-meh-music, there's nothing wrong with making it or liking it.