Certain Songs #1137: Midnight Oil – “The Dead Heart”

Album: Diesel and Dust
Year: 1987

Midnight Oil followed 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 with 1984’s Red Sails in The Sunset, a record that I found almost unlistenable, though I know that it got good reviews at the time, and at least one of you might lecture me about how great “When The Generals Talk” or “Best of Both Worlds” are.

And of course, I pretty much assumed that was going to be it with Midnight Oil: plenty of bands make records that I liked well enough and that was pretty much it: so in no way, shape or form was I prepared for how much I liked 1988’s Diesel & Dust, which stripped out much of the artiness that made their song structures so crazy, leaving pure delicious hooks upon which Peter Garrett could hang his radical leftist politics.

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Certain Songs #1136: Midnight Oil – “Read About It”

Album: 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
Year: 1982

After three practice albums that built up a huge fanbase in their native Australia, but didn’t do jack shit here, Midnight Oil had a minor breakthrough on MTV and a major breakthrough on college radio with their fourth album 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1, which combined lead singer Peter Garrett’s walked-it-like-he-talked-it politics with his band’s unique brand of beat-heavy post-punk.

And for me, no song resonated more on that record than the nuclear paranoia of “Read About It.”

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Certain Songs #1135: Mick Jagger – “Memo From Turner”

Album: Performance Soundtrack
Year: 1970

This will be the only song from Mick Jagger’s solo career that I will be writing about.

And in fact, there might be some confusion as to whether or not “Memo From Turner” is truly a Mick solo song. Not only was it co-written by Keith Richards, the Stones themselves — or some semblance thereof — recorded a version of it in 1968 that ended up on Metamorphosis some years later.

But that version is a run-through, a trifle, when compared to the version that Mick put out as what stood as his only solo single until he actually thought he could sustain a career without the riffs of Keith Richards upon which to stack his vocal dexterity.

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Certain Songs #1134: Michael Jackson – “Beat It”

Album: Thriller
Year: 1982

So it’s Christmas shopping season 1983. Thriller has been out for little over a year, and spent much of that year as the #1 selling album in the country, and so, figuring that it would probably be an easy Christmas present, as Jay and I walked into Tower Records, it seemed like that entire shelf that you’d see as you’d walk into the store was overflowing with nothing but copies of Thriller. Thriller everywhere. Thriller. Thriller. Thriller.

So I walk over to the stack — maybe it went to the ceiling — grabbed a copy, shoved it at Jay and said: “Hey have you heard of this? Is it any good?”

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Certain Songs #1133: Michael Jackson – “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”

Album: Off The Wall
Year: 1979

In 1979, after taking some time off from his waning post-Jackson Five solo career, Michael Jackson got away from the Motown machine, hired Quincy Jones as his producer, and completely reinvented himself with a revolutionary blend of disco, pop and funk.

It was, of course, a complete failure, and like what happened with renowned session man Jimmy Page after he abandoned The Yardbirds to form his own band, Jackson was never heard from again.

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