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Pop CultureDecember 22, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 22


Every day in the lead-up to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Our arbitrary and strictly enforced word limit: 365. Today: Sam Brooks on Delta Goodrem.

Let’s not talk about her acting – and the less said about her Olivia Newton-John biopic the better. Let’s not even talk about her music, which I actually think is surprisingly good-slash-great for an Australian pop star who has been around for a decade. She sampled (kinda technically maybe illegally) Arcade Fire, you guys!

Let’s just talk about Delta Goodrem’s voice.

I present to you this song:

This is less a song and more a stream-of-consciousness delivery of power notes. I have heard this song, and watched this performance, dozens of times. Her high notes hit me like Muhammed Ali hit a baseball, they are sharp and full, and they sail over the goalposts out of the pitch.

There’s no artistry here, this is pure athleticism. This is someone who knows the ins and outs of her voice and what it can do, and letting you hear all of it in a short four minutes and one second. She doesn’t give it to you all at once, though – she starts off at a low, deep register hum.

Then she climbs up the scales – a high note here, a higher note here, a highest note here, but she still reigns in it. There’s no belting, there’s no power notes here.

And then the track drops and she goes into a full sprint. There are runs, my god there are more runs than in a six-day cricket match, and there is melisma that would make Mariah Carey whisper to her mirror, “Too much, girl.”

So much of the persona around an artist is about downplaying how good you are at the one thing you do best. The boring beast known as modesty. In this song, Delta Goodrem doesn’t scale down at all. She shows off all that her voice can do, gloriously. Art isn’t about scaling down, art is about artistry and persona blending in one glorious orgy. It’s about scaling the fuck up.

In short: Delta Goodrem is the Michael Jordan of singing.

Read the Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar in full here.

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