Friday, 9 May 2014

"Blue Sky Mine" vs "No Thunder, No Fire, No Rain"

Tim Finns "No Thunder, No Fire, No Rain" is a beautiful melody about a man dying in the Bhopal Chemical Disaster, whereas Midnight Oils "Blue Sky Mine" is more about the long-term effects of mining asbestos on the health of the miners in Wittenoom.

I love both songs, but for completely different reasons.

"No Thunder" is beautiful.  The violins and Tims passionate voice combine to make a strong song about a young man losing his life while at work.  Unfortunately, while being a strong, passionate song to sing along to, it's not really that relatable, and the lack of subtly is somewhat distracting.  It basically comes straight out and says it's a song against the big company with this line:

"Martin was killed in the company name."

I don't know why, but that line lets the song down a bit for me.  So do lines like:

"Martin checks in to chemical plant." and 
"Martin works with strange blue waters."

You can't really forget it's a song about a chemical disaster caused by the neglect of the Union Carbide Corporation (who were charged with homocide over the incident).

Meanwhile Midnight Oil have NEVER been subtle about their rage against the man, so why do I like their lack of subtly over Tim Finns?  What works for Midnight Oil (besides the catchy tune) is the fact that the "Blue Sky Mining Company", even though it's mentioned by name, could really be ANY company.  Asbestos is never mentioned once.  The lyrics come across more as a song about being worked to death - which I think ANYONE can relate to, especially in todays climate.  How many of us can afford to take time off for illness, and how many of us struggle to pay for healthcare ("So I'm caught at the junction still waiting for medicine.")?  How many of us live pay packet to pay packet ("Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night.")? How many of us are just easily replaceable pawns for the Big Company ("A life that is led is no more than a token.")?  How many of us are facing mental illness in the face of a society and healthcare system that just doesn't give a shit ("If I yell out at night there's a reply of blue silence.")?

I've been listening to these songs a lot lately, mainly because I feel like my employers are evil and if I'm refered to as a "resource" one more time I'm going to vomit (resources are things like money and food.  I'm a HUMAN BEING thank you!).  They're both songs that depict man vs. the machine, and how the Big Machine will nearly always win.  There's only one line I disagree with in "Blue Sky Mine" - the last one.

"In the end the rain comes down.
In the end the rain comes down.
Washes clean the streets,
Of the Blue Sky Town"

I'm sorry, but nothing will wash away the fact that we're nothing but ants to those with money and power.

Oh? You all thought I'd have an opinion on Malcolm Holmes being turfed as CEO of the Lions?

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