Red Sails In the Sunset (Remastered)
Midnight Oil never let commercial success dictate their creative moves. After earning their first Top 10 single in 1983 with “Power and the Passion,” the band returned with the decidedly less conventional Red Sails In the Sunset. Recorded in Japan and produced by Nick Launay (who had also worked on 1982’s 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1), the album expresses concern over environmental issues (“Harrisburg,” about the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown) and critiques consolidations of power in business and leadership (“When the Generals Talk”). Musically, the most straightforward (and affecting) moment is the strident rocker “Kosciusko.” Otherwise, Red Sails In the Sunset gets its message across via synth-sculpted experiments (“Sleep”), loopy orchestral instrumentals (“Bakerman”), piercing folk-rock (“Minutes to Midnight”), and quirky rockabilly (the didgeridoo-aided “Helps Me Helps You”). As it turns out, following their muse, no matter how far out it took them, only made Midnight Oil more successful—Red Sails In the Sunset became the band’s first No. 1 album in Australia.