Wednesday, September 8, 2021

"The Dead Heart" by Midnight Oil

Song#:  3607
Date:  08/06/1988
Debut:  88
Peak:  53
Weeks:  10
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  The Aussie band reached the US Pop chart for the first time with "Beds Are Burning," the first single from their album Diesel and Dust. The song would reach #17 while getting to #6 at Rock. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. Although it would do well at Rock nearly making the Top 10 at #11, it would stall on the Pop chart just outside of the Top 50. A third single, "Dreamworld," would get to #37 Rock and #16 Alt Rock, but it failed to crack the Pop chart. The album would top out at #21 and go platinum. In 1990, the band would release their next LP Blue Sky Mining. Its first single, "Blue Sky Mine," would reach #1 at Rock and Alt Rock while making it to #47 Pop. The album would get to #20 and go gold. Things then cooled off for the band in the US with their next two albums performing successively less well on the Pop chart. In Australia, all of their studio albums since 1982 made the Top 10. In 2020, their album The Makarrata Project became their fourth to reach #1.

ReduxReview:  I liked "Beds Are Burning," but it was this single that made me buy the album. I thought it was an amazing song. It was intense and had terrific production with that low buzz growl heard on occasion for emphasis along with the reverb-laden drum fills in the background. The majority of the song was dark and dense, but then the long outro flipped the song into a major key and sweeter sounds like bells and (synth) strings were introduced. While the tune did have a chorus, it didn't include the title and wasn't necessarily catchy. That along with the ominous sound of the track and political-leaning lyrics were not going to do the song any favors on the Pop chart, which was too bad as it was an incredible track. It still sounds amazing.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song was written for a documentary called Uluru: An Anangu Story. The band, who was supportive of Aboriginal issues including land rights, was approached to write a song for the film's soundtrack. The documentary was to focus on the Australian government returning ownership of Uluru, also knows as Ayers Rock, to the original Aboriginal people, which was to happen in October of 1985. Midnight Oil agreed to contribute a song. They wrote three songs including "Beds Are Burning" and "The Dead Heart" and submitted them. "The Dead Heart" was selected by the filmmakers for use. It would also be pushed out as a single in Australia in 1986. It would reach #4. The band then went on to make Diesel and Dust, which included the song. Uluru, aka Ayers Rock, is one of Australia's most famous landmarks located in the Northern Territory. The sandstone formation stands over a thousand feet high and has been a tourist attraction for decades. Uluru and the national park were the setting for the 1988 film "A Cry in the Dark" starring Meryl Streep. The drama was about the real life story of Michael and Lindy Chamberlain and the disappearance of their daughter while camping near Uluru. The Chamberlains was convicted of killing their daughter based on circumstantial evidence. They were later released due to evidence discovered that pointed towards their innocence. The film is perhaps most well known for Streep's line "the dingo's got my baby." However in pop culture the phrase somehow got misquoted and turned into "the dingo ate my baby." Streep would receive and Oscar nod for Best Actress for her portrayal of Lindy Chamberlain.


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