Midnight Oil Blue Sky Mining
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The themes of bad corporate practices, corrupt politicians, overuse of resources, pollution, and other forms of social distress—and even, occasionally, love and relationships—permeate the songs from Blue Sky Mining. This album—sorry for the pun—is the crown jewel of Midnight Oil's somewhat angry and very successful career. On some of their work prior to Blue Sky Mining, the bile was very close to the surface; but with this album, the gents decided to focus fully on song craft first, hook us on the songs AS GOOD SONGS, and let the messages work their way into our brains later. It works quite brilliantly. Strong production values somehow allow the music to feel edgy and warm at the same time, and the lyrics provide stories and character portraits, not just moralizing diatribes. The album is so consistently good all the way through that it's difficult to pick top songs, but it's fair to say the most memorable ones might be title track "Blue Sky Mine," "Mountains of Burma, "Forgotten Years," "King of the Mountain," and "River Runs Red." Few of the issues Midnight Oil complain about on the album have improved since the album's release in 1990, which means Blue Sky Mining remains relevant today, both musically and lyrically.