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Album Review: Jessica Mauboy

Been Waiting

Now this is a turn-up for the books.
After the tragic dissolution of 'supergroup' Young Divas, it appeared most recent Diva, Jessica Mauboy's shot at fame was all but over. After all, she was the last to enter the group, and her prior release was one of those godawful 'The Journey' cover albums 'Idol' alumni are forced (possibly at gunpoint) to churn out. Who would've expected her to deliver one of the best albums to come out of this whole endless yet lucrative, terrible joke that is 'Australian Idol'?

Signs were positive when the fantastic first single 'Running Back' surfaced - a haunting, downbeat slice of airy, urban pop with a restrained vocal performance from Mauboy. Thankfully, she's followed it through with an equally strong album, and one that would fit perfectly onto US or UK airwaves.

New single 'Burn' is a tough R&B dance track worthy of Rihanna, and sounds so good you can forgive the unintentionally hilarious lyrics ("Look what you did to me/I need a doctor, cos this is starting to burn!" Mauboy wails to a cheating lover. There's the jingle for the next STI public information campaign sorted, then).

The jagged synths of 'Empty' sound like they were lifted straight out of Justin Timberlake's 'My Love', and the whole album does stick very closely to the Timbaland blueprint of skittering beats and airy synths. But there's something satisfying about the fact that Mauboy has fashioned herself a Timbaland-sounding album for a fraction of the cost, sticking mostly to local producers and songwriters, like Delta cohort Audius Mtawarira, Israel Cruz and even country singer Brooke McClymont.

'Been Waiting' out now on Sony.