Big Bad Beautiful World – Declan O’Rourke

Big Bad Beautiful World - Declan O'Rourke Artist: Declan O’Rourke
Album: Big Bad Beautiful World
Release Date: 2007
Genre: International, Pop/Rock
Styles: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter
Recording Location: Grouse Lodge Studios, Westmeath; Poet’s Corner Studios, Galway, Ireland; Pulse Studios, Dublin, Ireland; RTE Studios; Windmill Lane Recording Studio, Dublin, Ireland

Declan O’Rourke’s debut album, Since Kyabram, documented the songwriter’s mixed upbringing between Ireland and Australia, marrying modern Irish folk with commercial rock music the same way Bruce Springsteen did with the Appalachian variety. With his second record (since Since Kyabram, so to speak), Big Bad Beautiful World, O’Rourke steers his music in a more consciously epic direction, placing strings (courtesy of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra) and wistful keyboards where brash electric guitars may once have been. The lead single and title track, “Big Bad Beautiful World,” opens the album on a positive note with bright acoustic guitars and a gradually unfolding full-band arrangement. “Save Your Soul” has parallels with Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” as well as countryman Kieran Goss, while dynamic standout “Whatever Else Happens” best showcases the detached yet oddly inviting vocal style that remains the album’s most defining feature. “Man of Peace” and “One Day in War” make subtle criticism of silly things like war, the former opening with the arresting line “He needed someone so God chose me to reveal some of his most precious secrets,” while the latter uses a chorus of snare rolls and flutes to evoke the cheery idealism of armed conflict. However, for all its theatrical flair, Big Bad Beautiful World is just a little too safe, rarely going out on a limb melodically or thematically, and fails to truly distinguish itself as a result.

Title/Composer Performer Time
Big Bad Beautiful World / Jack Maher Declan O’Rourke 3:17
Save Your Soul Declan O’Rourke 5:02
Make Something Declan O’Rourke 3:32
Whatever Else Happens Declan O’Rourke 4:45
Man of Peace Declan O’Rourke 2:52
Just to Be Friends Declan O’Rourke 5:02
One Day in a War Declan O’Rourke 4:41
Bein Your Friend Declan O’Rourke 3:09
A Song on Love and Hate Declan O’Rourke 4:10
Stay in Sight Declan O’Rourke 3:47
Silly Days Declan O’Rourke 4:17
Twinkle Twinkle Declan O’Rourke 3:09

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