#13: Midnight Oil, ‘Diesel and Dust’ (1987) vs. Beastie Boys, ‘Ill Communication’ (1994)

No need to mince words.  I don’t like Midnight Oil.  Some bands you just don’t like, and that’s okay.  I never liked the way their songs sounded, and let’s just leave it there.  “Bed’s Are Burning” probably sealed the deal, for me.  It’s the first song I heard from them. The video actually. I just never liked the packaging and didn’t want to open the box.

But, the battle forces me to.  So I did.  What I can say now is that I still don’t like them.  However, after listening to the whole album, I can see why it might make the best of the 80s list. I actually found them sounding a bit like R.E.M.  I like R.E.M. a lot, so why don’t I like Midnight Oil?! I don’t know. I just don’t.

Let’s move on….Ill Communication is fucking amazing. One of my favourite all-time albums. It’s my party jam, no contest. This album defines my late teens and early twenties. I would crank songs like “Root Down”, “Flute Loop”, and “Sabotage”, as loud as my ears could take, in my car. Most bar nights would end with me begging the DJ to play “Get it Together”.

I really think that they mastered all of what they had been working on with Ill Communication. It’s truly a 90s defining hip hop record. Everyone drools over the innovative sampling and weirdness of Paul’s Boutique but for me, all attention should be put towards Ill Communication. The Beasties always seem to be a bit ahead of the curve on things. They also get points for calling themselves out on their past misogynist lyrics.

I Want To Say a Little Something That’s Long Overdue
The Disrespect To Women Has Got To Be Through
To All The Mothers And Sisters And the Wives And Friends
I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End

In a time when relentless misogyny in rap was, and in many ways still is, as common as McDonald’s, this progressive statement is huge. For this, and so much more, the winner is clear.


WINNER: Beastie Boys, Ill Communication (4 points)


80s: 16

90s: 22

80s: 39
90s: 53

Next week’s post – #12: Public Enemy, ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ (1988) vs. Tom Petty, ‘Wildflowers’ (1994)

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