Michelle Gardiner Things That I Don’t Have review by Vince Leigh
Things That I Don’t Have is the first release from Michelle Gardiner since June 2020, when her break-out single Show Me climbed to #2 on the iTunes country chart. Things That I Don’t Have is a cohesive blend of pop and contemporary country with Michelle’s self-assured vocal performance front and centre.
Ever the songwriter with her ear for universal narratives, Michelle found inspiration close to home—from her daughter. Serving as a reminder to the listener (and perhaps also to the writer herself), this seed of inspiration blossomed into a meditation on appreciation and deference to the elements in life one might easily take for granted.
Michelle Gardiner’s admirable aim
After listening to the new track, it’s easy to understand Michelle’s take on her inspiration:
“Music and family are the things that I have strived the hardest to balance in my life. They are both very important to me. I also find inspiration from wanting to make the world a better place for my girls. I want them to know that they are strong, worthy, and capable.”
An admirable aim if there ever was one.
While adhering to all the tropes and the melodic expectations of the genre, Michelle’s new release also sets out to explore a rich theme in a straightforward manner. It is uniformly positive and infused with a measure of empathy that’s as endearing as the song’s hooks.
Enhancing Michelle’s self-reflection is the instrumentation. There’s a corroborative use of guitars, vocal layers, and rhythmic elements that never deviate from this support yet also contains a few apt surprises. These surprises include the drop and accent right at the chorus’s doorstop, which seems to mirror the critical line of lyric, going further and tuning our ears to the word ‘doubt’, a feeling which is as potentially destructive to our sense of the world as it is, on certain occasions, necessary.
As Michelle says about the recording process:
“I do enjoy it, but I owe a lot of that to how my producer Michael Zammit (Airwaves Studio) works. He really gets to know who you are and how you want to sound.
“So after a cup of coffee and a big chat, that’s when the music is made. And since you’re both on the same page by then, it seems to come together really quickly.”
That unaffected and natural workflow is something listeners will undoubtedly respond to, reaffirming Michelle Gardiner’s estimable approach to songwriting.