The Sound of White

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The Sound of White
Studio album by Missy Higgins
Released 6 September 2004
Recorded 2004
Genre Pop
Length 49:46
Label Eleven
Reprise
Producer John Porter
Missy Higgins chronology
The Sound of White
(2004)
On a Clear Night
(2007)
Singles from The Sound of White
  1. "Scar"
    Released: August 2004
  2. "Ten Days"
    Released: November 2004
  3. "The Special Two"
    Released: April 2005
  4. "The Sound of White"
    Released: August 2005

The Sound of White is the debut studio album by Australian pop singer-songwriter Missy Higgins, released 6 September 2004 on Eleven. Higgins had secured recording contracts with Eleven and Warner Bros. while still in high school, after winning a competition for unsigned artists run by radio station Triple J. Her winning song, "All For Believing", is included on this album. After a backpacking trip in 2002, Higgins toured and wrote songs during 2003. She wrote most tracks alone and collaborated on three songs, with Kevin Griffin, Jay Clifford and Clif Magness respectively. The Sound of White was recorded in 2004 with producer John Porter.

Higgins' first single from the album was "Scar", released in August ahead of the album. Three more singles were released, "Ten Days" in November, "The Special Two" in April 2005 and "The Sound of White" in August. Critics gave the album mixed reviews and it achieved commercial success, reaching number one on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Albums Chart and, selling over 630,000 copies, was accredited platinum nine times. The album was nominated for five ARIA Awards in 2004 and won 'Best Pop Release'. The following year it was nominated for eight ARIA awards and won five. In 2005, Higgins won the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) 'Song of the Year' award for "Scar".

Background and recording[edit]

In 2001, while still at high school, Higgins wrote the song "All for Believing" as part of a music assignment.[1] The song won Unearthed, a competition for unsigned artists run by radio station Triple J and was added to their playlist.[2] She was offered recording contracts by Sony and Eleven.[3] She signed with Eleven before setting off in 2002 on a backpacking trip to Europe. She planned to write music during her trip but, leaving her guitar on a train in Spain, only completed one song.[4] While holidaying, "All for Believing" was picked up by Los Angeles (LA) radio station KCRW and at the end of her trip, she flew to LA to sign an international recording contract with Warner Bros.[5]

In 2003, Higgins spent several months touring as a support act for other artists, and writing music for her debut album. She wrote most of the songs alone, and most of them on the piano.[6] She collaborated with Better Than Ezra musician Kevin Griffin on two songs; "Scar" and "Don't Ever". "Ten Days", inspired by Higgins' break-up with her boyfriend before she travelled to Europe, was co-written with Jay Clifford from Jump, Little Children.[7] "The River" was co-written with Clif Magness.

In November, Higgins released a self-titled extended play (EP) which contained four songs including "All for Believing" and "Greed for Your Love", the song she had written in Europe.[4] In 2004 she travelled to the US to work with British musician and record producer John Porter and engineer and mixer Jay Newland. Porter assembled a group of session musicians for the album, including drummer Michael Barker, bassist John Patitucci and cellist Martin Tillman.[8][9]

Release[edit]

20 second sample of "Scar", released 2 August 2004

23 second sample of "Ten Days", released 15 November 2004

26 second sample of "The Special Two", released 4 April 2005

29 second sample of "The Sound of White", released 15 August 2005

Problems playing these files? See media help.

Higgins released her first single from the album, "Scar", as an EP on 2 August 2004; it entered the ARIA Singles Chart at No. 1.[10] The Sound of White was released in Australia on 6 September. It entered the ARIA Albums Chart at No. 1 and stayed in the top 50 for 85 weeks.[11] It was certified nine times platinum by ARIA.[12] It entered the New Zealand album chart at No. 40, peaked at No. 19 and remained on the chart for 11 weeks.[13] Three more singles were released from the album. "Ten Days" was released 15 November, entering at No. 14, later rising to No. 12.[14] "The Special Two" was released as an EP on 4 April 2005. It entered the ARIA Singles Chart at No. 2 and stayed on the chart for 19 weeks.[15] "The Sound of White" was released 15 August. It entered the chart at No. 22 and left it after five weeks.[16] The album was released in the United Kingdom on 6 June[17] and the US on 7 June on Reprise (a label owned by Warner Bros.)[18]

Higgins promoted the album in Australia in October 2004 with her first national tour as a headline act.[19]

Reception[edit]

Critical[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[20]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[21]

In his 2009 book Playlisted: Everything You Need to Know About Australian Music Right Now, Craig Mathieson said that The Sound of White was lyrically "descriptively giving, often heartbroken and occasionally delusional".[22]

The album received mixed reviews from American music critics. Christian Hoard and Jonathan Ringen of Rolling Stone were unimpressed by the album. Although they praised the production, they called it "utterly conventional" and said that Higgins was "too bland" to succeed in the US.[21] Allmusic's Jonathan Widran was more impressed, also praising the album's production as well as more lightly produced tracks "Don't Ever", "Night Minds" and "The Sound of White".[20] He said "there's no doubt she'll be the one up-and-coming singers want to compare themselves to".[20] Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Holly George-Warren said that the album was "reminiscent of early Suzanne Vega and Sarah McLachlan" and that it sounded "just right".[23] Billboard gave the album a positive review, praising Higgins' use of different genres and noting her "refreshing Melbourne accent" and concluding that it was "tailor-made for lazy summer days".[18]

Awards[edit]

Higgins received six ARIA Awards for The Sound of White. In 2004, at the 18th Annual ARIA Music Awards, Higgins was nominated for 'Single of the Year', 'Best Female Artist', 'Breakthrough Artist — Single' and 'Best Pop Release', all for "Scar". She won the award for 'Best Pop Release'.[24] Squareyed Films received a nomination for 'Best Video' for "Scar". The following year, at the 19th Annual ARIA Music Awards, Higgins received five more awards; 'Best Female Artist' (for "Scar"), 'Breakthrough Artist — Album', 'Highest Selling Album', 'Best Pop Release' (for "The Sound of White") and 'Album of the Year'.[25] The was also nominated for 'Single of the Year' and 'Highest Selling Single', both for "The Special Two".[25] Cathie Glassby received a nomination for 'Best Cover Art' for The Sound of White.

In 2005 at the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) Awards, which recognise song writing, sales and airplay performance, Higgins was nominated for two awards; 'Song of the Year' (for "Scar" and "Ten Days") and 'Breakthrough Award' (for an emerging songwriter). She won the 'Song of the Year' award (with "Scar"'s co-writer Kevin Griffin) and the 'Breakthrough Award'. Aged 21 at the time, she was the youngest recipient of the 'Song of the Year' APRA award to date.[26][27]

In October 2010, The Sound of White was listed in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[28]

Track listing[edit]

The album was slightly varied for its international release, replacing the track "Casualty" with "Unbroken" and including the song "They Weren't There" as a secret track and a remixed version of "Scar", known as the Jay Newland Mix.

Australian release[edit]

All tracks written by Missy Higgins, except where noted.[1]

  1. "All for Believing" – 3:27
  2. "Don't Ever" (Missy Higgins, Kevin Griffin) – 2:52
  3. "Scar" (Higgins, Griffin) – 3:36
  4. "Ten Days" (Higgins, James Major Clifford) – 3:45
  5. "Nightminds" – 10:19
  6. "Casualty" (Higgins, Griffin) – 4:14
  7. "Any Day Now" – 3:51
  8. "Katie" – 3:35
  9. "The River" (Higgins, Clif Magness) – 4:28
  10. "The Special Two" – 4:27
  11. "This Is How It Goes" – 3:32
  12. "The Sound of White" – 4:49
  13. "They Weren't There" – 4:07

International release[edit]

  1. "All for Believing" – 3:27
  2. "Ten Days" – 3:45
  3. "Scar" (Jay Newland Mix) – 3:32
  4. "Don't Ever" – 2:52
  5. "Nightminds" – 3:13
  6. "Unbroken" (Higgins, Griffin) – 3:41
  7. "Any Day Now" – 3:51
  8. "Katie" – 3:35
  9. "The River" – 4:23
  10. "The Special Two" – 4:27
  11. "This Is How It Goes" – 3:28
  12. "The Sound of White" – 9:06 (includes time for following track)
  13. "They Weren't There" (hidden track)

Personnel[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Album[edit]

Chart Peak
position
Australian Albums Chart[11] 1
New Zealand Albums Chart[13] 19

Singles[edit]

Song Chart peak positions
Australian Singles Chart[11]
New Zealand Singles Chart[29]
UK Singles Chart[30]
"Scar" 1 20
"Ten Days" 12 39 133
"The Special Two" 2
"The Sound of White" 22

"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "All for Believing", APRA search engine (Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)), retrieved 4 March 2010  Note: For other songs, user needs to click on 'Search again' tab and enter song's title e.g. Dont Ever
  2. ^ Lee, Ben (August 2005), "Missy Higgins: A Pure New Voice Rises Out Of The Outback", Interview (Brant Publications, Inc) 
  3. ^ Zuel, Bernard (11 September 2004), "School Of Rock", The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media), archived from the original on 23 June 2010, retrieved 22 March 2010 
  4. ^ a b Reid, Graham (5 November 2004), "Missy Higgins Living Her Dream", The New Zealand Herald (APN News & Media), retrieved 10 April 2010 
  5. ^ Lanham, Tom (1 February 2005), "4 To Watch For: Missy Higgins", Paste (Paste Media Group), retrieved 22 March 2010 
  6. ^ "Tuned In — Missy Higgins", 6ABC (American Broadcasting Company), 25 April 2009, retrieved 10 April 2010 
  7. ^ Boyton, Cristina (4 June 2005), "Meet Missy Higgins: Australia's Newest Pop Star", Newsround (BBC), retrieved 17 January 2010 
  8. ^ Yusof, Zack (11 March 2005), "Missy Higgins Talks About Her Debut Album", The Star (Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad), archived from the original on 23 June 2010, retrieved 22 March 2010 
  9. ^ a b c d Widran, Jonathan, "The Sound of White > Credits", Allmusic (Rovi Corporation), retrieved 22 March 2010 
  10. ^ "Discography Missy Higgins", Australian charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 4 March 2010 
  11. ^ a b c "Missy Higgins — The Sound of White (Album)", Australian charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 30 April 2010 
  12. ^ "ARIA Charts — Accreditations – 2006 Albums", Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), retrieved 16 May 2010 
  13. ^ a b "Missy Higgins — The Sound of White (Album)", New Zealand charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 5 June 2010 
  14. ^ "Missy Higgins — Ten Days (Song)", Australian charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 30 April 2010 
  15. ^ "Missy Higgins — The Special Two EP (Song)", Australian charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 30 April 2010 
  16. ^ "Missy Higgins — The Sound of White (Song)", Australian charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 30 April 2010 
  17. ^ "Australian Star Missy Higgins Announces UK Tour", TourDates.co.uk, 7 April 2005, archived from the original on 23 June 2010, retrieved 4 May 2010 
  18. ^ a b SH (25 June 2005), "Reviews — Missy Higgins — The Sound of White", Billboard (Nielsen Business Media): 49, retrieved 12 May 2010 
  19. ^ Munro, Kelsey (18 October 2004), "Missy Higgins, Metro", The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media), retrieved 20 May 2010 
  20. ^ a b c Widran, Jonathan, "The Sound of White > Review", Allmusic (Rovi Corporation), retrieved 22 March 2010 
  21. ^ a b Hoard, Christian; Ringen, Jonathan (30 June 2005), "Missy Higgins: The Sound of White — U.S. Version", Rolling Stone (RealNetworks, Inc), archived from the original on 15 June 2010, retrieved 22 March 2010 
  22. ^ Mathieson, Craig (2009). Playlisted: Everything You Need to Know About Australian Music Right Now. UNSW Press. p. 114. ISBN 1-74223-017-2. 
  23. ^ George-Warren, Holly (13 June 2005), "The Sound of White (2005)", Entertainment Weekly (Time Inc.), retrieved 12 May 2010 
  24. ^ "ARIA Awards 2009 : History: Winners by Year: 2004: 18th Annual ARIA Awards", ARIA Awards (Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA)), retrieved 20 May 2010 
  25. ^ a b "ARIA Awards 2009 : History: Winners by Year: 2005: 19th Annual ARIA Awards", ARIA Awards (Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA)), retrieved 20 May 2010 
  26. ^ "2005 APRA Awards Winners Announced" (Portable Document Format (PDF)), 2005 APRA Awards (Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)|AMCOS), 30 July 2008, retrieved 20 May 2010 
  27. ^ "Nominations 2005". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)|AMCOS. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  28. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  29. ^ "Discography Missy Higgins", New Zealand charts portal (Hung Medien), retrieved 5 June 2010 
  30. ^ Zywietz, Tobias, "Chart Log UK 1994–2008 H & Claire – Hysterix", Zobbel.de, retrieved 5 June 2010 
Preceded by
Classified by bond
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
13–26 September 2004
17 January – 13 February 2005
23–29 May 2005
Succeeded by
American Idiot by Green Day