Ah, the days of college radio. Playing imported records from all over the world. Fun times.
And one of the artists I played on college radio, way back in the day, was the power-rock group Midnight Oil.
You know them. At least you know their one hit, “Beds are Burning,” right?
Yeah, the song where you’re trying to figure out what a Holden wreck is, and how it’s steaming at 45 degrees, not realizing that 45 degrees is Celsius for 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Or maybe you’ve heard Midnight Oil when they appear on SiriusXM’s “First Wave” radio channel. You know, with songs like this.
Or this song about the oppression of Australia by big business…
Or this little song about American soldiers proliferating Australian shores…
Or this song about the oppression of workers by multinational corporations…
Or if you’re REALLY deep into Midnight Oil, you know that they even cover some of the most iconic Australian rock songs of all time, like their take on Russell Morris’ 1970’s psychedelic track “The Real Thing” …
And I love how they teamed up with veteran Cold Chisel singer Jimmy Barnes to belt out their tribute to the incredible rock band Dragon, “Dreams of Ordinary Men.”
And if you think, well, Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett may make a good rock band frontman, but what else can he do in life? Well, for about nine years, after Midnight Oil’s last album in 2003, he ran for – and was elected to – the Australian Parliament, where he served for nine years.
So why am I fan-gushing about Midnight Oil today?
Probably because I just found out that last month, the Oils released a new single. It’s their first new recording in SEVENTEEN YEARS.
The new song, “Gadigal Land,” like all Midnight Oil originals, has a purpose. It tells the story of one of seven clans of indigenous people from Australia’s pre-history, who were nearly wiped out by the English settlers, who wanted to initially create Australia as a penal colony. In fact, there may be only about 100 people alive who can trace their lineage to that clan today, according to Wikipedia.
The new single is part of an upcoming Oils album called The Makarrata Project, and it features the band collaborating with those of Australia’s first people. Here’s a short documentary about the album.
Oh this is great. Totally awesome. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.
And it’s nice to know that after 17 years on the shelf … Midnight Oil has lost not a single spark. Not one single spark.