CROWDED HOUSE – ‘Whatever You Want’
On their first new release since 2010’s Intriguer, Crowded House deliver a punchy, carefree piece of pop gold.
In the rapidly changing and uncertain world we inhabit it’s a huge comfort to know that Crowded House are still a strong presence, making beautifully constructed handfuls of joy…
Neil Finn has had a pretty hectic couple of years. Having virtually overnight stepped into the spot vacated by Lindsey Buckingham in Fleetwood Mac he’s spent that time playing in one of the biggest bands of all time. Nice little busman’s holiday considering Crowded House — the band he formed in the mid 80’s out of the ashes of Split Enz — have basically been on ice for the better part of a decade.
But the events of the past eight or nine months forced Finn and family into isolation in the States and, inspired by his tenure with the Mac, the seeds of the reinvention of Crowded House were sown.
With ‘Whatever You Want’, the first single from the forthcoming album Dreamers Are Waiting, Finn once again proves that he is one of the undisputed masters of that rarest of musical commodities: the perfect pop hook. People will tell you / Whatever you want, he sings over an arrangement that screams classic Crowded House. And the authenticity of this revitalised band is clearly evident as well: both Neil’s sons Liam and Elroy are now in the band, contributing guitars and drums respectively, Nick Seymour still weaves his lovely melodic bass lines all over the track and long-time producer Mitchell Froom now slots in on keyboards, something Finn has said he’s been trying to coerce Froom into for years.
Lyrically it’s a song that certainly has a hell of a lot of relevance to everybody right now. “I guess in the year we’re in, and in the age of misinformation and untruth and propaganda and stuff, the idea that there’s a lot of people saying whatever they think that people want to hear – or, alternatively, what their boss wants to hear – is an interesting thought”, Finn recently told ABC, and as usual he’s right on the ball. In these uncertain times it’s immensely reassuring to know that artists like this are still firmly rooted in the real, and for those that love the band’s previous records – and let’s face it most of those songs are now forever fused into our collective DNA – this is a perfect little pocket universe of joy, both upbeat and wistful.
Oh, and the accompanying video is a beautifully shot piece of art as well. Directed by Bosnian/Canadian director Nina Ljeti it features Mac DeMarco in his acting debut as someone who’s recovering from a big night, wandering around his house and being comforted and reassured by a kaleidoscope of inanimate household objects.
In the rapidly changing and uncertain world we inhabit it’s a huge comfort to know that Crowded House are still a strong presence, making beautifully constructed handfuls of joy and ‘Whatever You Want’ should serve as a little tap on the shoulder to remind everyone to celebrate the small things in life.