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Redneck Wonderland
Midnight Oil
Redneck Wonderland
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

1998 album for Columbia by the veteran Australianalternative rock act. 12 tracks, including the singles'White Skin Black Heart', 'Cemetery In My Mind' and 'RedneckWonderland'. The album's sound is reminiscent of their 1983...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Midnight Oil
Title: Redneck Wonderland
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 11/3/1998
Release Date: 11/3/1998
Genres: Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Style: Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 074646968222


Album Description
1998 album for Columbia by the veteran Australianalternative rock act. 12 tracks, including the singles'White Skin Black Heart', 'Cemetery In My Mind' and 'RedneckWonderland'. The album's sound is reminiscent of their 1983album '10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1'.

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CD Reviews

Oils Bring Back The Rock!
A.B. | Los Angeles, CA | 06/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have read several of the reviews here and just had to comment on them. Those who like it seem to refer to it as a new direction for Midnight Oil that works. Those who don't like it complain that the melody is missing. It seems that these folks like the more acoustic/mellow sound of Midnight Oil ("Earth and Sun and Moon," "Diesel and Dust," "Blue Sky Mining," etc.).

I have been a Midnight Oil Fan since about '82, when "10. . .1" was released (their first US release). It was like nothing I'd ever heard. I found the music a bit disturbing, yet beautiful. By the time "Red Sails. . " was released I was in love with this band and excited to hear the more experimental sounds of "Red Sails in The Sunset" (What is that brass woodwind interlude all about?). Those two albums form the core of my love for this band. In the decades since that time, I have collected every album and EP the Oils have released, but those two remain the benchmark by which all others are judged (yes, I know that's a personal thing - music is subjective, after all).

When "Diesel and Dust" was released I was happy that the group had found success stateside and it gave me about a year of "I told you so. . ." conversations with friends who always wondered why I was so in love with this quirky Australian band. "D&D" is a great pop album and is an amazing achievement. It contains some of my favorite songs by the group (however, "Beds are Burning" ranks with my least favorite), but it was very commercial and I was a bit sad that my "secret band" was now being played all over the radio. But again, I was glad to see them reap the rewards of over a decade slugging it out in the underground (at least in the US).

The two albums after "Diesel and Dust" found the Oils softening their sound further. Even the rockers featured thin guitar sounds (hear "Blue Sky Mine") with too much chorus and not enough "balls." Great songs, with wimpy, sterile execution. Not bad, but certainly not the rock I'd come to love on the first two albums I'd heard by these guys. And the weirdness had all but vanished by the time "Earth and Sun and Moon" was released.

I recently viewed their video compilation DVD and watched the videos in chronological order. This really gave me a sense of how the band progressed from a scrappy Aussie surf/bar band to a skilled, powerful, experimental political band to a commercial arena rock band with a message ("the Australian U2"). From the first videos where Peter Garret dances around like a madman to the later ones where he's riding on the back of a jeep and the entire band is outfitted in dated 80s-wear, I really got a sense of how they had changed both musically and physically.

It reminded me of why I started to lose interest around the time of "Blue Sky Mining," was disappointed by "Earth and Sun. . ." and didn't even bother to purchase "Breathe" until about a year or two after it was released. These guys had peaked and I could feel the decline. The question was how long would they stick it out.

I got a promo copy of "Redneck Wonderland," just prior to its release. I still listened to their earlier work on a regular basis and was curious to see if this one would be yet another trek into the mellow acoustic sound they'd grown into, but didn't work for me.

I was happily surprised to see that this album was not more of the same. It harkened back to the sound that made me fall in love with them in the first place. The guitars were heavy and raw. Peter Garrett was angry. In fact, the whole band sounded pissed off.

In addition, they brought back a lot of foreign sounds - noises that were a bit uncomfortable, but somehow made sense.

I've always thought that Midnight Oil recognized how they had lost their way and that this album was their attempt to get back to their roots. To me it's the hardest (rock) album they had released since "Red Sails. . ." It is rare for a band that has been around for over 20 years (as the Oils had been at the time this was released) to release something this energetic, raw and "new" sounding - especially following their less challenging output from the late-80s through the mid-90s.

Obviously, I am a big fan of this band. But if your experience with their music is similar to what I have described above, you may want to pick this up. If you're a fan of their softer side, (e.g. turn it up every time "Beds Are Burning," comes on the retro station) then perhaps you should stay away from this one.

Those who call this album garbage either love the mellower side or must not be too familiar with their earlier work (or perhaps we just hear this one differently), because the early stuff is a bit awkward, disturbing and difficult. And that's when I like them best.

Unfortunately, they released "Capricornia" after this, which might as well have been called "Earth and Sun and Moon Part 2." But for a moment, they awoke and created one last rocker that is the quite enjoyable "Redneck Wonderland.""
Marcelo Rangel | Brasilia - Brazil | 07/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I mean, this has nothing to do with classic Midnight Oil, and that's the weird and amazing thing about it.

The Oils were able to totally reinvent themselves and their music. This album is really different and good, and one of the best rock albums released in 1998.

"Comfortable Place on the Couch" is a somber, complex and deep song. "Cemetery in My Mind" is another gem. "Return to Sender" is un-Oil. But the really stand-out track is "Safety Chain Blues", with it's dark and slow pace, really impresssive!

I may be gone out of my mind, but this album is probably in their top 3 ever."
Doesn't get the balance right
H. Jin | Melbourne, Australia | 09/14/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Since 'Diesel and Dust', Midnight Oil had been moving in a more melodic, subdued direction. The social and political concerns were still there, but within a more subtle lyrical and muscial attack. However, with the election of the conservative government of John Howard, and the increasing profile of Pauline Hanson and her fledging right-wing One Nation party, the Oils obviously decided it was time to strike back with another fierce protest.

It's clear Midnight Oil didn't want to just rehash '10 to 1' or 'Red Sails in the Sunset', so they take a turn toward the alternative rock of the late 90's, particularly the Industrial and Nu-metal sounds. It's a radical departure from their previous work, but in a way the anger and energy of these styles should be a good fit for their protest anthems. Titled 'Redneck Wonderland', the album viciously critiques the supposed racism and ignorance of contempary Australia in far more direct terms than anything before it. I'm sure the band was expecting (and probably hoping) to stir up enormous controversy with this album, but instead it fell pretty flat. 'Redneck Wonderland' was not so much a flop as just...ignored.

I think the main problem is that such a radical change of direction so late in their career ends up alienating the very people this album should appeal to. The lyrical concerns of the album will appeal most strongly to old-school Oils fans, but these same people will probably be put off by the music. How many fans of Aussie pub rock would also love Nine Inch Nails, for example? It's one thing to be experimental, but it's another to completely abandon everything resembling your signature sound; with one or two exceptions, the songs here are literally unrecognisable as Midnight Oil. It doesn't help that the band often let their passion get in the way of their songcraft. The album is so direct, blunt and angry that there's less room for the melody, hooks, and subtlety that characterised their best work. 'Cemetery In My Mind' is probably the strongest song here, and it's also the song closest to the traditional Midnight Oil sound. That probably says alot right there.

So 'Redneck Wonderland' falls between the cracks; leaving dedicated fans scratching their heads while failing to attract a new audience. You certainly can't fault the band for not having new ideas, even if they aren't necessarily good ones, and the anger is definitely back. But their lyrical and musical ambitions are pulling in opposite directions, meaning they just don't gel. A typical "very easy to admire, but very hard to love" release."