Diesel and Dust
By David Chiu
Even during a decade known mainly for its crassness and materialism, it’s still comforting to know that there were musical acts that had a social conscience in the ‘80s. Australia’s Midnight Oil was one of them. The group fronted by the tall and distinctively head shaven Peter Garrett conveyed in their music themes messages of justice and social rights, particularly for their country’s indigenous people. Those sentiments are reflected on the band’s breakthrough 1987 album Diesel and Dust, which has been reissued with a bonus DVD containing a documentary of their ’86 tour. The group’s best known song is “Beds Are Burning” but it shouldn’t overshadow the majority of the album’s fervent and passionate songs such as “Dream World” and “The Dead Heart”; and poignant tracks like “Arctic World,” and “Whoah.” The messages don’t sound outdated—Midnight Oil was concerned about what was important in human terms.
See a clip of “Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil: