Life of the Party was released last summer, in February, when half of Australia was recovering from intense weeks of bushfires and COVID was starting to make its presence known overseas. But it’s not as if the album has dated, and it is now perfect for this summer because it is an album that makes you fall in uncomplicated love with every song. Jackson has this incredible voice – the loveliest tone and crisp enunciation. If you’re a Tom Waits fan it’s likely not a voice you’ll immediately take to but it is perfect for the 13 country-pop songs on this album (16 tracks on the deluxe version), and it becomes more perfect each time you listen.
The thing about this album is that it really gets its hooks into you. First time around it sounds sweet and entertaining – so entertaining that you’ll definitely want to play it again. Second time around you can detect that there’s more to the songs. After that, the layers of Jackson’s songwriting and vocal expression become clearer. There’s a lot of emotion and exposed heart on this album, and also a lot of memorable melodies. The production is clean and restrained, allowing the star – Jackson’s voice – to shine. Mostly, though, it’s an album that will make you smile because it’s a glorious collection of 13 little gifts.