Videos by American Songwriter
It might seem unlikely that a non-native like Colin Hay could capture something of this country’s present mood in the era of Obama promise and recession reality. But, then, this is the same Scotsman who once bequeathed to Australia a silly little pop anthem called “Land Down Under.” American Sunshine—the latest in a long line of Hay’s post-Men at Work solo records—is a different animal, not least because it finds him occasionally mining the rootsier textures of that distinctly American music—Country.
The crisp, easy “Oh California” opens the album with willful, yet wary optimism about the Golden State, and, really, the entire country: “Well, it’s not like before, but we can still pretend.” Most of the songs that come between that one and the album-closing title track—a lackluster instrumental—convey, often existentially and with strong melodic hooks, the pleasure of seeking human connection and the anxiety the comes with failing to find it. These efforts are complicated by a punishing pace of life (“No Time,” the album’s purest, catchiest pop moment) and the tendency to entangle the public with the personal (the wry, high-strung rock of “Pleased To Almost Meet You”). And, just now, that sounds about right.