October 2011

Arts & Letters

Popular music masterpiece

By Robert Forster
Sarah Blasko - ‘As Day Follows Night’, 2009

Bookended by two wispy Disney-esque ballads, As Day Follows Night has as its body, and certainly its heart, ten beautiful songs. Their melodic strength is the major surprise, given that Sarah Blasko, who penned all songs on the record, worked with a co-writer on her previous two albums. Lyrically she was always strong, if obscure and consciously poetic. Here all pretence is dropped, as a sign of artistic maturity and in the face of having to detail a broken romance – a subject matter she takes way beyond the clichés of a ‘break-up album’. Her songs are magnificently supported by the woody, percussive, fairytale production of Stockholm’s Bjorn Yttling, and she sings magnificently. The choice of Yttling is proof that great artists often make inspired decisions when it comes to collaborators. What is remarkable, re-visiting the album two years on, is the clipped intensity that Blasko brings to her chronicle of a failed relationship; a romance that, given all its human pleasures and problems, in the end must bow (as the singer comes to see) to the laws of nature, the cosmic order, where day always follows the ending of night.

—Robert Forster

Robert Forster

Robert Forster is a singer-songwriter and co-founder of The Go-Betweens. His collection of music criticism, The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll, was published in 2009.

Cover: October 2011

October 2011

From the front page

Image of Jennifer Westacott

Big bank tax cuts

The Business Council is on a very sticky wicket

Image from ‘Atlanta’

‘Atlanta’: thrillingly subversive

Donald Glover’s uncommon blend of the everyday and the absurd makes a masterful return

Image of Peter Dutton

South African farmers: we will decide

Australia, refugees and the politics of fear

Image from ‘The Americans’

‘The Americans’, the Russians and the perils of parallels

Why sometimes it’s better to approach art on its own terms


In This Issue

Scene from 'The Theft of Sita'. Image courtesy of Melbourne Festival.

Music theatre masterpiece

An Australian–Indonesian production - ‘The Theft of Sita’, 2000

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Robert Helpmann & Anna Pavlova

Theatre masterpiece

Tom Wright & Benedict Andrews - ‘The War of the Roses’, 2009

The incendiary Meow Meow, 2011. © Magnus Hastings

Queen of the night

Meeting Meow Meow


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More in Masterpieces

Poetry masterpiece

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© Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

Design masterpiece

Marc Newson - ‘Qantas A380 Economy Seat’, 2008

Fiction masterpiece

JM Coetzee - ‘Summertime’, 2009

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Architecture masterpiece

Lindsay & Kerry Clare - ‘Gallery of Modern Art’, Queensland, 2006


Read on

Image from ‘Atlanta’

‘Atlanta’: thrillingly subversive

Donald Glover’s uncommon blend of the everyday and the absurd makes a masterful return

Image of Peter Dutton

South African farmers: we will decide

Australia, refugees and the politics of fear

Image from ‘The Americans’

‘The Americans’, the Russians and the perils of parallels

Why sometimes it’s better to approach art on its own terms

Image of Hugh Grant in ‘Maurice’

Merchant Ivory connects gilded surfaces with emotional depth

Restraint belies profundity in ‘Maurice’, ‘Howards End’ and more


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