An interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed is that often, albums that I don’t like all that much at first go on to be among my favorites. In some cases, it’s because the album was a striking departure from the previous effort by a favorite band. Other times they simply shocked my sensibilities so radically that I had to recalibrate my ears and head. Occasionally, I’m just too burned out on the band or genre to be interested. Midnight Oil is a particularly fascinating band to me because for one or more of these reasons, this has been the case with almost ALL of their records.
Redneck Wonderland is no exception. In fact, I had a distinct dislike for it at first. What was I thinking? This record is great. I now realize that “Comfortable Place on the Couch” and “Seeing is Believing” are among the best songs they’ve ever written. It’s really too bad that Redneck Wonderland didn’t come out when Midnight Oil were at the peak of their popularity so that it would get the attention that it deserves.
Very few bands have successfully mixed accomplished musicianship and progressive songwriting with the energy and defiance of punk. Midnight Oil has mastered it. This really is a first rate group of utterly sincere artists playing at the peak of their powers, and they’ve lost none of the vitriolic political edge that makes people love them or hate them. I’m in the category of the former.