Album Mini-review: Colin Hay — Fierce Mercy
File next to: Men at Work, David Gray, Paul Kelly
Colin Hay long ago left behind the bouncy pop of Men at Work, though his solo releases are every bit as warm and inviting. Hay possesses a voice that suggests an effortless ability to convey the emotion in his story-songs. Recorded in Nashville, Fierce Mercy does indeed take on the musical characteristics of that city, but Hay’s aesthetic vision is wide-reaching enough to transcend pigeonholing. The sweeping, Phil-Spectoresque grandeur of “Secret Love” provides Hay with an opportunity to show a vocal range only hinted at in most of his other work. “A Thousand Million Seasons” displays his wistful side, and “The Last to Know” is resignedly melancholy. Fierce Mercy is most certainly not a rock album; instead it’s is a grown-up record for grown-up listeners, made all the better by some of the finest arrangements of Colin Hay’s 30-plus year career.
You may also enjoy: my 2016 interview with Colin Hay, and a review of his 2014 album Man @ Work.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.