Darren Hayes



by Simon K. STAFF
March 6th, 2023 | 11 replies

Release Date: 10/07/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: So bad, it should come with a health warning.

Homosexual is a bloated, self-indulgent travesty. At its best, Hayes’ fifth studio album is a mid-tier synthpop project that drunkenly sashays around the room smelling its own farts; at worst, Homosexual subjects its audience to agonisingly repetitive lyrical “hooks” and surface level elevator-ready synthwave ambiences. This level of lambasting right out of the gate might come across as harsh, but just know that this doesn’t come easy to me. For the longest time I’ve held Darren Hayes in very high esteem, a pop artist I have put in the pantheon with George Michael, Michael Jackson and Madonna in her early years. I grew up on Savage Garden and the first Hayes LP Spin, and to this day I still hold Hayes’ works in very high regard, they’ve held up very well over time. This is largely down to the fact he’s an eclectic, fearless visionary who gets a buzz from exploring new pastures and his work clearly benefits from these creative proclivities. Yet, it should be mentioned that Hayes’ unwavering consistency came to a standstill eleven years before Homosexual became a reality, a record I didn’t even know was a thing until today.

In a lot of ways, part of me always wanted a new album, but the prudent side of my brain couldn’t shake the fact Secret Codes and Battleships was a fantastic way to end his recorded works – a bookend that converged his creative progression to its logical conclusion, blending all of his works into one complete and cohesive package. In 2022, unbeknown to me at the time, I found out Hayes was about to embark on a world tour and I was elated at the prospect of seeing him perform, as I’d never seen him live before – a tour I assumed was going to be a “best of” setlist of sorts. As it turned out, Darren Hayes had released a new album in October of last year, a revelation that immediately left me perturbed: his first recorded work in eleven years? So much has changed since 2011, could Hayes pull it off this late into his career?

Unfortunately, my initial concerns from this news was warranted. Homosexual not only stamped out any hope I had for this album succeeding, it set that hope ablaze before turning it into a fine dust. To give a pithy summation of this LP; it’s on the same level as Hayes’ abominable project We Are Smug, a single-album project that saw Hayes using a pseudonym of the same name. If anyone remembers this repugnant trash fire, they’ll remember it was an experimental electronic pop album with catastrophic results: a tone-deaf execution that was both flaccid and deplorable in equal measure. To that album’s credit, at least it’s half the runtime of Homosexual and admittedly a prototype experiment of sorts for Hayes’ 2011 album, Secret Codes and Battleships. Here, Hayes has no such excuse to hide behind why it’s an unmitigated disaster. Believe me when I say, Homosexual is one of the most self-serving, pretentious albums I’ve ever heard. This thing drones on for an agonising eighty-five minutes and has absolutely nothing of worth to take away from it.

If you’re a fan of Darren Hayes or Savage Garden, forget everything you know and love about his work, it just isn’t present here. If you’re looking for beautiful melodies, luscious instrumentation or sharp, catchy hooks, forget about it, all you’ll be getting is a homogenous soup of repetitive ideas swirling around perpetually, seemingly in an attempt to turn your brain to mush. It’s as if Hayes had a lobotomy in between this and his excellent 2011 outing, bearing witness to him slurring the same pathetic, generic, paper-thin melodies over and over, layered atop the most superficial synthpop instrumentals possible. The first two tracks on here are a grave warning to anyone looking to explore this baron wasteland of emaciated compositions – if you can even constitute them as that – and if you don’t heed the warning, you deserve everything that’s headed your way.

All jokes aside, I’m genuinely shocked to see garbage of this calibre coming from such a shrewd and attentive professional. Homosexual should be used as an interrogation tool – I know I’d give up any information being drawn out of me if it was put on a loop. Part of me wonders if this is an elaborate joke – hell, when I got to “Hey Matt” or “All You Pretty Things”, I was convinced this was the case. These tracks have runtimes that would make Dream Theater proud, the problem is that neither of these songs warrant that time, unless the end result is to make the listener abhor and anguish the putrid sonic sludge materialising in front of them. We Are Smug is clear evidence Hayes is capable of such dire lows, but I never imagined he would be capable of putting his real name to something this bad. Not only is this a terrible stain on Hayes’ impeccable CV, it’s a genuinely bemusing disaster that I honestly can’t comprehend. All of the tracks on here feel hollow, monotonous and worst of all, absolutely pointless. Hayes more often than not sounds like Matt Bellamy going off on one of his operatic tangents, and not once does it sound genuine. At this point, I can only pray this gig will keep this album to a minimum and we’ll hear the songs that made him the legend he is, because frankly, Homosexual is set to burn that legacy to the ground.

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user ratings (6)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2023


Album Rating: 1.0

shocked i didn't know this existed until today, and even more shocked by just how bad it is.

this could well end up being my most hated album of the decade.

Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2023


dude the fact that this is just called Homosexual is making me die laughing

March 6th 2023


Man, I was gonna listen to a few songs out of morbid curiosity but why is the album so effing long???

March 6th 2023


ah damn... savage garden had some great tunes.

Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2023


“the fact that this is just called Homosexual is making me die laughing”

Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2023


That (2) rating spread is weird as fuck. Subscribed.

Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2023


Album Rating: 1.0

Dude is so out of touch.

March 7th 2023


"synthpop project that drunkenly sashays around the room smelling its own farts"

i lost my shit right in the first paragraph.

PS. Savage Garden was Savagely Garbage

March 8th 2023


Some dangerous statements in here if taken out of context lmao

March 8th 2023


Album Rating: 2.0

Sounds like he went to an Erasure show and got stoked to make a tribute album around especially their later albums -- not the best models for a tribute

March 8th 2023


Album Rating: 2.5

Dece album… BUT

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