Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Toni Collette's Music Career Looks Up

No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to separate Toni Collette from Muriel Heslop, the titular character from "Muriel's Wedding". It's not like Toni has been sitting on her arse since 1994. She received an Oscar nomination for "The Sixth Sense", stole the show in "Little Miss Sunshine", matched it with Nicole and Meryl in "The Hours" and played a frighteningly convincing drag queen in "Connie & Carla". And yet, Toni will always be that silly, fat mole from Porpoise Spit to me. And I mean that as a compliment. "Muriel's Wedding" is one of my favourite movies, I must have watched it at least 20 times and can quote most of the dialogue verbatim. Maybe that's why I was initially disappointed by Toni's music. I almost expected her to release an album of ABBA covers, preferably with Toni dressed as Agnetha on the cover. Instead, she delivered a sedate set of self-penned tunes, aimed squarely at people who don't fall asleep listening to Sarah Blasko.

Toni released her debut single, "Beautiful Awkward Pictures", in September last year on a small indie label. To be completely honest, if the song had not been performed by Toni Collette, I doubt I would have listened to it twice. It's not that "Beautiful Awkward Pictures" is terrible. In fact, it's evocative and quite pretty in a morose kind of way. Toni is obviously a gifted songwriter and has a fine voice. "Beautiful Awkward Pictures" is just not my cup of tea. If I want to feel depressed, I'll put on some Aimee Mann instead. At least she is consistent in her misery. The song does have a lovely video clip, which involves Toni strolling along an empty beach, and it grew on me enough to purchase Toni's debut album, also titled "Beautiful Awkward Pictures".

"Beautiful Awkward Pictures" got a few spins on my stereo - usually when I was drunk or stoned - but it never really clicked for me until I saw Toni in concert. I think I needed to see her on stage with a group of musicians to dispel the lingering thoughts of Muriel from my mind and be able to take Toni's music on its merits. Toni is a charismatic woman and hearing her perform the album live really helped me put the songs in context. One of the highlights of the album is the recently released second single, "Look Up". I much prefer "Look Up", with its literate verses, sweet chords and delicate instrumentation, to the first single. "Look Up" is an excellent pop song and deserved a higher chart placing than #61. The video is also cute. Check out Toni's killer red heels. I'm guessing she stole those from the set of "Connie & Carla"!
Toni's album is definitely a grower and she makes a welcome addition to the Australian music scene. She's not exactly in Dannii Minogue's league of fabulousness but I'd take Toni over dreary bitches like Missy Higgins and Dullta any day. I have uploaded album versions of the first two singles and one of my favourite live tracks. Give Toni's music a listen, you might be pleasantly surprised.

You can still purchase both singles and Toni's album from Sanity and Chaos or download them from iTunes. Both singles are worth purchasing for their bonus tracks, the "Beautiful Awkward Pictures" single includes an interesting song about "The Hours".


Robpop said...

Wow! I love Toni and her album. You should check out the Milla album which runs along the same lines. Its probably a little bit better too.

But Mike, is this really poptrash?

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

WOW! I didn't even know Toni Collette could sing!

Trash Addict said...

Rob, you're right. Toni's music isn't pop trash. It's probably a little bit too classy for this joint! But Toni is a pop trash icon and Muriel's Wedding is a pop trash masterpiece. So, I guess she kind of fits in.

Oh, and I actually have Milla's album. It's nice but too esoteric for me. I prefer Toni's.

Mr Zacko-Smith, Toni has done some singing in the past but I think marrying a musician might have something to do with her new career path. BTW - Your Blog is very interesting!

Alyson with a Y said...

I demand less Toni Collette and more Collette Collette!

I only say that because the only thing leaving me to survive the two kids right now is Attitude!


Trash Addict said...

A post on the real Collette is long overdue! Unfortunately, I only have her second album on cassette. I might just make a post about her stunning debut album!

Alyson with a Y said...

I have her 2nd album on CD - if you wish to get in touch, I'm happy to send it to you! I'm OBSESSED with the album Attitude, it's my favourite Australian album not by Girlfriend.

Or at the very least, Upside Down and Who Do You Think You Are!

We were thinking of this website the other day when we saw the guy from Chocolate Starfish (?) singing with The Western Force Rugby team, we thought that'd be the kind of trash worth sharing!


Trash Addict said...

Alyson, I'll send you an e-mail. I'd love to get my hands on Attitude. Who Do You Think You Are is intensely fabulous!

I remember the Chocolate Starfish -mostly because of their raunchy name! What on earth is the singer doing with the Western Force Rugby Team? Now that's trashy!

Ro Ro said...

Muriel you're terrible! i still love that movie and i had a crush on the boy who popped her bean bag chair. I'm a geek nerd lover. Her musics not so bad..i kinda wish she woulda either did a showtune or covers cd as well.

Trash Addict said...

Matt Day popper her chair! I used to have a crush on him when he was a regular on an Aus soap. I think she should do an ironic cover of "Fernando" on her next CD. That would be gay!

Anonymous said...

Could you please re-post the songs Look Up and Beautiful Awkward Pictures and others of Toni Collette? Those links are dead.

Thanks so much!