Second of two in a row from Midnight Oil, who by the mid-80s weren’t just wearing their progressive politics on their sleeves, their front man Peter Garrett was actually running for office (no he didn’t win, but he would eventually). Red Sails At Sunset was their album of the moment (telling big scary, ugly truths about racism, nuclear apocalypse, environmental meltdown), with Best Of Both World standing tall as a possible alternative Australian national anthem. “I’d stand for it.” (Philip Random)
Rousing anthem of resistance from the Midnight Oil album that finally put them over the top somewhere outside of down under. Philip Random recalls being ambivalent to both song and album until one day in London, “… a long way from home, out of money, lonely as hell, but it’s a nice day so I’m out walking the Strand, and Sometimes pops up on a friend’s mixtape and holy shit, it suddenly says it all. Let the powers-that-be unleash their violence, push us to the wall, beat us to a pulp, we won’t give in. And then I’m looking up at all these centuries old monuments and statues of respected gentlemen who no doubt did their bit to crush the poor, the meek, the hungry, the foreign, all for the greater good of EMPIRE, and then I’m laughing because I realize they’re all covered in pigeon shit.”
In which KC and his Sunshine Band remind us that all disco didn’t suck. In fact, most of it didn’t until Saturday Night Fever came along at which the powers that be suddenly seemed to decide it was something you could base an entire culture on, which sucked. Rather like putting too much cilantro in something. It’s just not good for you.
Brian Eno and friends deliver a nifty bit of funked up coolness (with samples*) from 1977. The friends being Snatch, the best two woman punk band you’ve probably never heard of, Brian Eno being, as always, way ahead of his time (sampling wouldn’t really be a thing for better part of a decade). RAF first showed up as a b-side to Eno’s King’s Lead Hat single, and later on First Edition, a nifty little 10-inch album that was packed full of precisely the kind of modern music that caused arguments. (*Yes, some of those samples come from a Baader Meinhof ransom message that was delivered via public telephone call. Those were the days.)
The band known as Yes from when they were still just hard working wannabes (a guitar genius and a keyboard wizard short of achieving true escape velocity). Like future teenagers, drunk on stolen psychedelics, joyriding in dad’s spaceship, trying to get the damned thing off the ground, not quite getting there, but beautiful anyway. And it rocks.
By 1980, so-called New Wave was working through at least its ninth mutation. In the case of Ultravox, this meant parting ways with original front man John Foxx, hooking up with new guy Midge Ure and going distinctly (some would say pompously) Modern with monster album (at least in Europe) Vienna. “There really isn’t a bad track. Some dubious lyrics maybe, but the feel of the thing, its sharp, pristine elegance, more than makes up. One of those albums that absolutely nails its time.” (Philip Random)