Mostly obscurities I found through my Launch player …
Midnight Oil, Time to Heal — I have the essential Oil trilogy of Diesel and Dust, Blue Sky Mine and Earth and Sun and Moon, but I haven’t sprung for anything they released as they wound down their career, more or less intentionally. This is the type of song an angry protest band should release near the end of its working life — an anthem, heavy on the acoustic guitar, looking to a brighter future. Over several brilliant albums, the Aussies told us what was wrong in the world. Only fitting that they wind up with what’s right, or what should be right.
Dubstar, Just a Girl She Said — Set almost ironically to some dreamy keyboards, this song delivers biting sarcasm sung gently. It’s a far better feminist anthem than 99.9 percent of the stuff delivered by shrill lab assistants with acoustic guitars who aren’t the Indigo Girls.
Big Country, too many to name — Eventually, I’ll just have to break down and buy Why the Long Face? at Amazon, if only I could figure out which version to get. You Dreamer is a great tale of intervention (“How can someone find me if no one knows I’m lost?”), and God’s Great Mistake is a good effort at reclaiming Christianity that rocks a lot harder than you’d expect from Big Country. Or maybe I should get one of their live efforts, where their thunderous sounds comes across even better than it did on their ’80s breakthroughs.
Poe, too many to name — Her concept album Haunted includes the playful Not a Virgin and the creepy title track.
Los Lobos, Peace — They have the live version, but I’d prefer the studio take, which makes better use of the looping acoustic guitar riff that invites you to sing along.
Melting Hopefuls, She’s a Big Boy Now — Basically making fun of overly butch women. A male singer couldn’t get away with it.
Stretch Princess, Freakshow — She just wants a boyfriend with a brain cell, damn it. And she sounds like she deserves it.
Smithereens — Come on, guys, I have a lot of old store-bought cassettes to replace. I bought them all once, but I’m not buying it again on CD. Put your 10 best on iTunes, and I’ll buy ’em.