Sarah Blasko’s Eternal Return

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Words By Holly Bodeker-Smith
November 10, 2015
There's something distinctly 1980s-love-record about Sarah Blasko’s fifth studio album, Eternal Return. Though that wasn’t the intention, ‘I wasn’t actually trying to make an 80s sounding record, which I’m a bit nervous about now,’ Blasko says, laughing.

But the Australian musician’s magnetic vocals revitalize a quasi-lost genre in a way that is both surprising and arresting. Perhaps more than anything, Eternal Return smudges the line between 80s and current pop – ‘I love the feeling of listening to a record and not quite knowing what era you’re in,’ she says.

The most conspicuous change in Blasko’s latest creation is the use of synthesizers. The synths tie seamlessly with her raspy voice – they poke and uplift you, they get you in all the right places.

It is a sonic shift from the trajectory of her last album, I, Awake – a commanding record that features Blasko’s powerful vocals alongside a symphony orchestra. Indeed, Eternal Return is a step into unchartered terrain altogether; her previous albums are tinged with a sense of yearning – whereas Eternal Return is about finding.

Blasko admits that this is a love album, it’s about finding love – finding love and holding onto it long enough to bleed out its value into a creative package. The record’s title is a testament to the ways we act when we fall into the disorienting pit that is love – ecstatic and disillusioned; we retreat to the inner self.

“I think that the truest you’ll ever be in your life is when you’re a child. The album is very much about being in touch with those honest and open sides of yourself.”

‘When you fall in love you enter a very childlike state – you open up in an honest way,’ says Blasko. ‘You become very much in touch with your true self. And I think that the truest you’ll ever be in your life is when you’re a child. The album is very much about being in touch with those honest and open sides of yourself.’

The cover itself seems emblematic of Blasko’s coming to, of a certain revealing. Sarah looks cleansed – her face dominates the image, washed over with monochrome red. She stares into the distance – her eyes glossy, her expression hollow yet bold, vulnerable yet game.

Blasko worked with producer Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, Oh Mercy, Eskimo Joe), and placed more emphasis on co-writing this time around. ‘I really wanted to be free to focus on melody,’ she says, ‘so I wrote with the people that I’ve been playing music with for ten years – but we’d never written a song together.’

A heavily pregnant Blasko recorded the album in Grove Studios, an hour’s drive from Sydney. I ask her about the duality of creating an album and creating a human. ‘It was a really wild, special, amazing time,’ she says. ‘To be giving birth to an album at the same time as being pregnant was in many ways the ultimate experience.’

Recording an album whilst heavily pregnant surely adorns Blasko the award of Powerhouse Musician of the Year. The pregnancy undeniably meddled with her creative routine, but she adapted to the change. ‘In many ways I was more content than I’d ever been making a record – normally I’d run myself into the ground. But this time around I was so in touch with what my body needed,’ she says. ‘It was a bit like having superpowers – you know what you need at any given time, like, “I NEED AN AVOCADO!”’ she demands into the telephone, laughing.

Eternal Return is a record of many firsts for Blasko – first accidental 80s-record, first baby-record, first unabashed love-confessional. ‘With each record I just want to write a great pop song,’ she says, ‘to write something that will resonate with a lot of people.’ Blasko has truly let her guard down – perhaps this unraveling  was the prerequisite for yet another refreshing and remarkable pop album.

 

Sarah Blasko’s album Eternal Return is now out via EMI.

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