Counting down with Midnight Oil
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 12/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Marking a turning point in Midnight Oil's evolution, "10, 9, 8..." (often referred to as "10 to 1") found their political concerns getting tight as their music and their reach broadening. While Place Without a Postcard was their first to reach Australian platinum status, "10 to 1" was the first Oils album to significantly reach outside their home turf. Like the countdown the title signifies, this album was an ignition.
The band began forging their punk power to art-rock. Acoustic and electirc fire together. The moody synths that rumble on the opening track, "Outside World," sound a note of departure from earlier efforts. There is no way to escape the meaning of these songs...opeing lines like "US forces give the nod, it's a setback for your country" aren't what anyone would call subtle. And let's face it, "It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees" usally aren't connected to dancing legs.
"10 to 1" contains two of the band's best known songs, "Power and The Passion" and "Read About It," the video of the latter being the MTV lure that brought me to the band in 1983. The weird thing is just how prescient these songs are some 25 years later.
"Bombers keep coming, engines softly humming.
The stars and stripes are are running for their own big show."
Even the laundry list of aggression in "Short Memory," which ends with a verse about watchdogs in Afghanistan, could be a work in progress. Imagine what the always intense Peter Garret would be adding to this song in the six years since the Oil's disbanded. There really aren't too many other ways to describe the band after 'intense,' which is probably what held commercial US success back until Diesel and Dust broke them. But for a solid view of how Midnight Oil found their groove, "10 to 1" is the album that sounded like they could have been the next big thing."