Saturday, June 17, 2006

Midnight Oil and Music as a kid.

This week, I've done such pop culture related things as denounce Che Gevloviniro, and attempted to replace him with Ghandi… which hasn't worked because shirts are expensive and people are rubbish.
This is as good a place as any to advertise, so if you're interested in a shirt that looks like this:

drop me an e-mail on (this is a UK thing really).

I could go into all that a lot, but I don't think it's interesting enough (well OK, I do, but I havn't had a great response about it so far… maybe if there's enough begging comments for a post on it from our non existent readers…)

So I need to talk about something else. Everyone else has done some sort of review or opinion on musics lately, so I guess I could get away with doing that.

You know who the first band I ever listened to were? Midnight Oil: a political Australian Rock band, who's main issues were about how Australia had been taken from the Aborigines, as well as other stuff about how the land (specifically Australia) is being abused. They're not that unheard of, they were pretty popular, so if we had any readers, there's a chance they would have heard of them. I first listened to their Album Diesel and Dust when I was 3, 7 years after the album came out. It is then that I gained a concept of a "favourite band", despite them being really the only band I had heard… for the next 10 or so years, if anyone asked who my favourite band was, I'd say Midnight Oil. I first listened to the whole album in the sitting room of our old house, sitting infront of the stereo, and my Dad tried to explain what each of the instruments I was hearing were, which is actually moderately hard- having to describe what sound an instrument made, without the person your explaining to ever having seen the instrument played before. I remember eventually realising that the bass, the guitar, and the keyboards were all different instruments- which I know sounds basic, but when you're a kid, picking stuff apart like that isn't what you naturally do (well it wasn't for me); before, it was just music.

The music I listened to as I grew up was pretty much dictated by whatever my parents liked playing in the house or in the car. There was just the one Midnight Oil album, and it wasn't remembered that often. And so, I ended up listening to other great bands like The Who, Level 42, Prefab Sprout and Santana. The stuff I heard the most though were Steely Dan and The Robert Cray band. So many Steely Dan songs I am incapable of forgetting now, after the long hours of car journeys and background spent listening to them. Unsurprisingly enough, although I think Steely Dan is great, I still havn't put any on iTunes, just 'cos I still need to recover from it. Robert Cray I've started putting on my iTunes a few months ago- and am thoroughly enjoying all over again (side note: Robert Cray was the first band I ever saw live- at the Manchester Apollo, I loved it.).

Ofcourse I am not at all upset about missing out on the the latest popular songs on the Radio- as I discovered when I took the bus to my 3rd primary school. All the good stuff still got through to the family CD collection, like R.E.M. If I ended up listening to the Radio at an earlier point in my life, I'd hate to think what kind of person I would be now…

Back to Midnight Oil, a few months ago, I found the CD I hadn't listened to since I was 6, and discovered I could remember every song perfectly, and even after everything I had listened to since I still considered the songs to be great pop or rock songs. They were easy to sing to, the guitar and keyboard parts were interesting as well as moderately simple, the obligatory use of 80s style effects was tasteful. If you're short of something to listen to, and you want something that just sounds good, and has relevant, if slightly out of date messages to it (to be honest though, morals and good messages never go out of date), I would recommend Midnight Oil, especially any Live recordings, most of their tracks are dynamic enough for a live performance to really just perfect it ( I picked up Scream In Blue - Live off iTunes and instantly played it over so many times it got near my top albums). In the same way Prefab Sprout makes the perfect softer or more relaxed pop songs, Midnight Oil make the perfect more edgy pop/rock songs.

If you weren't sure, this post was about how great Midnight Oil is, and a slight look into how the music you listen to as a kid comes back to you, and how it affects what you come to like. Lets hope you listened to good music as a kid eh. Also, as a total non-parent, I suggest never letting your kid listen to the radio until they have a solid base of music you know is good under them!


Superfunk said...

Great post, I'll check them out sometime soon - I remember my French exchange partner's Dad playing the Diesel and Dust album

Miles said...

Although Dads: NEVER try to "educate" your kids as to what is good music. If they want to listen nothing but "garage" or techno remixes of My Bloody Valentine, don't try and get them to like the Rolling Stones. You won't win, you'll only warp them further.