I’ve been thinking about Australian music from an international perspective lately; what are the songs we want to be known by, by someone who doesn’t know us?
I keep coming back to the pop greats, this 80s sound of great Aussie pop/rock. The Church, The Triffids, The Go-Betweens, and above all, Crowded House. There’s a certain magic in the production of all these bands around the late 80s, early 90s; all shiny shiny treble guitars, clean and reverberating with all the enormous breadth of the panoramic Australian horizon. Can we even claim Crowded House as definitively Australian? Certainly not as their very NZ incarnation, Split Enz. From this period you can’t deny the best song is “Message To My Girl”, a very special song to me.
Though I’m frightened by the words
Think it’s time that it was heard
So I’ll sing it to the world
A simple message to my girl
No more empty self-posession
Vision swept under the mat
It’s no new year’s resolution
It’s more than that
Fuck, this song was made the year I was born.
And even from the Crowded House days, god, it’s hard to pick a single song from this band. I’m having a great time on YouTube, ogling youthful Neil Finns wailing I’d better be home soon and so on. “Into Temptation”, that delicious lyrical tryst of lusty longing.
The most Queensland of them all is, of course, the Go-Betweens. Friends know of my obsession with someday writing the book about Grant McLennan.
And don’t the sun look good today?
But the rain is on its way
Watch the butcher shine his knives
And this town is full of battered wives
It doesn’t get much better.