Posted in 8-Tracks, Blog Posts

Beds Are Burning, by Midnight Oil: a Song Review

General Information:

-Album Title: Diesel and Dust

-Artist: Midnight Oil

-Release Year: 1987

-Song Length: 4:18

-Genre: Rock

-How to Listen: Spotify (with subscription), Apple Music (with subscription), iTunes (for purchase), CD, or look for it at your local library

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Lyrics:

Out where the river broke
The blood-wood and the desert oak
Holden wrecks and boiling diesels
Steam in forty-five degrees

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
Let’s give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
Now to pay our share

Four wheels scare the cockatoos
From Kintore East to Yuendemu
The western desert lives and breathes
In forty-five degrees

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
Let’s give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent now
To pay our share

The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
We’re gonna give it back

How can we dance
When our earth is turning
How do we sleep
While our beds are burning

Review:

Pretty solid light rock song.  It isn’t hard on the years…the lyrics are really similar to a lot of what I’m used to hearing throughout the late-‘80s.  Some of it is kind of nonsensical but overall, it’s pretty catchy and is definitely one that I’ll be adding to a few of my personal playlists.

As I looked for the lyrics for this song, I learned that it is a political protest song. Honestly, I’m finding it really interesting that a lot of the music that I’m listening to for this blog happen to be protest songs or off-kilter, off-trend music.  Though I guess that shouldn’t be too odd considering the nature of the book.

So, Midnight Oil is an Australian band… go listen to this song and their other music because its all pretty cool in my opinion.  But this song in particular was a protest against the government in Australia.  Apparently, there was forcible removal of the native Pintupi peoples from the Gibson Desert (it seems like a combination of what happened here in the US to our native peoples as well as the Japanese Internments of the 1940s…and well…if you’ve kept up with the US news the last few years is still occurring to other BIPOC).  These people weren’t and still haven’t been given apologies by the Australian government for their treatment of Aboriginal peoples even now.  Though the Pintupi people seem to be trying to return to their land since the early 1980s.

I find things like this absolutely fascinating because music is just a form of art and art can be so many things.  This song is catchy, the lyrics and melody are really easy to pick up and follow.  You can take it for that.  Or you can look deeper into the lyrics and the background of the band and the song.  And sometimes you find that it was actually something really deep and important.

So important in fact that Midnight Oil’s frontman, Peter Garrett, said of the song: “In retrospect it was the song we were born to record. It’s got all the bits to make it work, strong rhythms, good melody and the lyrics had some punch, while being very Aussie. t took a while to stick. It’s incredible how much it still gets played around the place… Who would have thought an Aboriginal land rights song would travel that far?”

So important that the Australasian Performing Right Association has placed it #3 on their Top 30 Australian Songs of the past 75 years.

And so important that my opinion of the rating for this song went from a 4 out of 5 (as a decent and pretty standard sounding, yet solid, late-1980s song) to a 5 out of 5.

Sometimes knowing what something is about makes it that much more powerful.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One thought on “Beds Are Burning, by Midnight Oil: a Song Review

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