Jordan Millar has grown up. The musical everyman who had tons of ideas and a band who could more than ably execute it way back when we discovered them in 2008 has finally realised, as most of us do when we get older, that if you can do one thing really damn well, it’s best to concentrate on that. True to form, however, Millar’s singular talent actually comprises of three separate elements; he’s got a wonderful voice, a great knack for melody and an innate understanding of chordal rhythm. They all converge on this little number, and with a range of influences as eclectic as my own – I’ve tapped the man for tips on artists from MuteMath to Erykah Badu, it’s no small wonder that Millar has been able to collect everything and hone it into something so simple and sweet that I really think you all should hear it. But when I stumbled late into his first gig in over a year last week, it was this song which spoke to me loud and clear. Let it be known that there is nothing shameful about writing a beautiful pop song if it possesses the crucial element of truth. If you believe the songwriter, you will believe in the song.
‘All These Things I Can Tell’s most arresting feature is its melody, which steps incrementally up and down a blues scale and demonstrates the power of Millar’s pipes which used to have to compete with a very busy band. Now that he’s shuffled things around and found new players, Millar’s had the inspired decision to record many of his newer songs on his own, something I’m quite thankful for because it means you can’t be distracted by anything else. Millar hits these notes full on, in a similarly affecting way as Melbournian Nicholas Roy did on his recent sleeper hit, ‘It’s All My Fault’. While Millar’s still got a bit more pent up energy than Roy – you can hear it in the way he leaps for the very first note – he’s also got some chops and this is the perfect way to utilise them. A straight-A student of some of the best singer-songwriters around, he knows that the best hooks are the ones that are interesting without being overly think-y, which is precisely what this is. Granted, these are still chords I probably could never get my fingers around on a guitar, but that’s precisely the point; he makes it seem so breezy and effortless it’s like he’s every highschool kid playing ‘Wonderwall’.
The inflections gets even jazzier the second verse around and the backing vocals slide through in timely tear-jerker fashion. But the song itself doesn’t alter that much structurally and that’s another wise move, because when the base material is this good, deviating into netherworlds is the last thing you want to do. Just as Ball Park Music’s ‘All I Want Is You‘ touched a nerve with me a few weeks ago, so too does this make me feel something I can’t quite put my finger on but I know it’s deep-seated and glowing brighter every time I press play. Millar’s been working hard at this for years and I’m sure he’s wondered more than a few times which song will finally prove to be his lucky break. For my money, I think he’s just written it.
Jordan Millar – ‘All The Things I Can Tell’
Hear more Millar here.