Hope can be a genuinely hard thing to find these days, but can often be found in the places we don’t think to look. Meg Mac’s new album offers us a quiet moment of hopeful reflection, and also brings with it a gentle reminder of her vocal and lyrical talent. Recently coming off the end of a sellout tour celebrating the success of “Give Me My Name Back”, Meg Mac has been able to convert that momentum into an exciting release new release: Hope.
The mini-album is a convincing introduction to those who haven’t been a part of Meg Mac’s journey so far; whilst for her established fans, Hope is a happy reminder of what makes her such an empathic presence within Australia’s music industry.
The album jumps between the previously unreleased as well as those tracks that Meg Mac has been dropping in the lead up to Hope. These new and unheard tracks sit wonderfully alongside her incredibly popular releases of recent months, “I’m Not Coming Back”, “Something Tells Me” and “Give Me My Name Back”. Within the scope of the album, these tracks, which individually all have powerful messages, create a clear picture of what Hope is trying to stand for.
The album’s signature (and titular) track, “Hope” highlight’s the broader themes at play on the album, and explores how hope as an ideal can affect us. “Hope” is a poignant flashpoint for the album, sporting the album’s mantra and a lyrical imagery that stays with its listener. It’s also works to redefine Meg Mac’s sound, mixing in an ambient electronic undercurrent that perfectly melds with her flowing wholehearted vocals.
Meg Mac has always been able to pull off covers so well. With “Want Me To Stay”, originally written and performed by Sly and The Family Stone, Meg Mac continues this trend. Her take on the track is refreshing, slowing it down and moving away from the funk factor towards a tempered blues tone that feels reminiscent of her early career cover of Bill Wither’s “Grandma’s Hands”. Yet, still displaying a sense of the artistic growth that’s been enjoyed between her self titled EP and Hope.
Hope ends on a highlight; “Before Trouble” opens into a droning harmonic salvo, slowly opening itself into a powerful soul closer. With captivating lyrics and magnificent vocal work that draws you in, and the clear focus of the track’s instrumentation before slowly, a thumping bass line couples with the rising chorus, this is one of the album’s finest moments.
Hope is a record for Meg Mac to be proud of. It emphasises the heavier parts of life, whilst still paying homage to those lighter moments. These shade of light and dark are combined with such grace and clarity that it’s hard not to be caught up in the experience.
It might not have strayed too far from what Meg Mac has given us before, but Hope shows why listeners have long been able to connect with Meg Mac’s music. Once again, her empathetic writing and her powerful vocals have combined to create a little magic over thirty minutes.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Hope is available now on all streaming platforms