The Savage Garden Way to “Ruin” the Image of Pop Music

As quoted by Anne Rice, The Savage Garden is a vision of earth in which the natural laws of the world govern over anything aesthetic or civil, and that’s exactly what Savage Garden music sounded like. Jam Packed with Dark and Beauty on top of each other, or sometimes in the same level.  The most obvious example of this is SANTA MONICA, the last track from their first album.


Unlike the name Santa Monica which often connected to the words beach, and bikini girls in roller skate, Savage Garden’s Santa Monica is deep and mysterious. And even though, the song is an ode to the city itself and partly talks of Darren Hayes’ experiences and observations, for me Santa Monica is about anonymity and being alone in spite of loneliness in the city full of people. And then it grows itself into some discovery of being able to be someone or anything that we want to be in there, and nobody will ever realize it, like a fake escapism. The melody and simplicity of this song says it all. See the video below, and you’ll know that even in a live performance, the song meaning and image doesn’t fade away. You can feel the complexity and ambiguous form from Hayes soft voice.



Just like most people in my age, I know Savage Garden from their first international single, “I Want You”, but at that time, I don’t really feel for Savage Garden. Don’t get me wrong, I love “I Want You”, but if feels to disconnected for me. Just like a chicken cherry cola. But their 2nd single, To the Moon and Back is a different story. If someone doesn’t relate in anyway to this song, then that person must be the most happiest human in this earth. To The Moon and Back is sad and depressing, and in a twisted kinda way it shows every human real feeling of being rejected, messed up and feels like really want to dig a hole to stay underground forever.


Talking about sad and depressing, it wouldn’t be complete without mention “I don’t know you anymore”. This song is very eerie and at the same time, beautiful. I love when Hayes singing “I’ve paid the price, I’m still paying for it every day” and “The snow is more lonely than cold if you know what I mean” parts. At first, I thought the song is about Hayes feels about his ex-wives, but as time goes by, the song meaning is changing. Its about Savage Garden and their breaking up. Its about Hayes feeling about his partner, Daniel, who becoming more and more hateful to their rising popularity. Its sad when the person who usually close to us, suddenly changing into someone that we don’t know at all.  If you see the way Hayes singing it in live, you can feel his pain and gloomy heart.


 Break me Shake me is Savage Garden’s only hard hitting song. Its basically saying “Go Ahead,  Fuck me, Use me, Break Me, and do whatever you please to me”. What I loved about this song is the clearness of it. Its like looking at the mirror and become conscious about what people always do to another human being just to fulfilled their needs, including yourself. I never get bored of this song. I love the semi-mashed new wave-funk guitar in the middle of the song. You can hear The Cure, The Police and Heart Influence evidently in it.


“Hold Me”, probably Savage Garden’s most cherish song and definitely my favorite Savage Garden song. The song is always useful to calm the storm in my heart even though the words wasn’t cherish at all. Its about relationship and how frickin’ hard it is. Relationship is when two people trying to live one life. That two people is love each other but still kept on hurting themselves with arguments and pointless debate.  There’s nothing extraordinary about the song technical composition, but that’s the beauty of it.


Its really a tragedy Savage Garden breaking up prematurely after only making 2 albums. Even though the second album wasn’t as emotional and great as the first one, I think Savage Garden definitely reach what they’re trying to say to people who listened to their music because they always know how to describe emotions. They always know how to describe despair and love. And that’s the reason why Savage Garden matured me. They teach me the lesson, that not every pop music is as crap as Britney Spears. And in a way, they’re “ruining” my taste of pop music by creating a very high standard of pop music in my mind. Probably that’s why I hate almost everything that came from pop music scene in the last decade.

1 Comment

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One response to “The Savage Garden Way to “Ruin” the Image of Pop Music

  1. Chic-a-Cherry Cola

    You have a very good way of describing Savage Garden’s songs and what one feels when listening to them… I can totally relate to what you wrote especially re. Hold Me and To The Moon & Back. Crash & Burn is another good one to explore one’s feelings and seek comfort.

    My favorite song of theirs is “Truly Madly Deeply”. But lately I have been listening a lot to “I Want You” and come to the conclusion that if I ever composed a song in my life, it would have been that one. Frenetic, confused, with lots of keyboard melodies and a sense of being overwhelmed by one’s dreams, emotions and thoughts all coming together at the same time.

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