Life Is Fine (Cooking Vinyl)
Since the 1980s and his emergence from Melbourne’s pub rock scene, Paul Kelly has been recognized around the world and at home as a voice of Australia. His 22 albums straddle folk, R&B, rock, and country, occasionally veering off into bluegrass and even dub.
Some of his numerous Top 40 singles are included in the Top 30 Australian songs of all time. He has been appointed an officer of the Order of Australia, written an autobiography, and had a documentary made him.
A fine career, and I presume a very good life. But what now, has it all been done?
Not quite. Life Is Fine, though, and Mr. Kelly returns to his pop/R&B roots for this rollicking, jolly collection featuring, as always, more than pretty decent songwriting, updating a Roy Orbison song, Leah: the Sequel, and setting a Langston Hughes poem to music.
I even learned a new word from the song title Petrichor. It’s “a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.” Cool.
This is a fine collection of songs and a great listening experience. In addition, Life Is Fine is Paul Kelly’s first No. 1 album in Australia, ever (it displaced Ed Sheeran). Life is, indeed, exceedingly fine for Paul Kelly and his audience.