Missy Higgins’ fourth studio album, released in early September, is a masterpiece of Australian covers. OZ is comprised entirely of hit songs from Australian artists, reimagined in her own light. The album expresses Higgins’ roots in her home country, and the book included with the album describes her connection to each of the songs she included on the LP.
The title clearly refers to the focus on Australia that Higgins has put on this album. However, it has another meaning as well; OZ also reflects Higgins’ enjoyment of the idea that songwriters embody the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz. So many people idolize artists, but nobody really knows what is going on behind the curtain.
Higgins’ take on these songs is quite obvious, though. Australian musicians such as Something For Kate, The Drones, Slim Dusty, and The Angels bring different styles to the table, but Higgins has spun them into her own brand of music.
Very minimal amounts of guitar are used in the album, but every song is accompanied by a steady drumbeat and soft but influential piano. Her echoing voice carries incredible amounts of passion and emotion, only intensified by the addition of a strings section.
While there is nothing wrong with Missy Higgins’ fourth album, there is something about it that isn’t quite right. Higgins created a beautiful, well-intentioned tribute to her home country, but there is a reason each of the songs on the track list for OZ were written by someone else.
The individual songs lack their own original style, the original feeling, and the original fervor. OZ is worth a listen, but it doesn’t really hit the mark.