The Oils are an Australian pub icon, but to be honest many of the Australian bands from the 70s and 80s could lay claim to that statement, but Midnight Oil did release one of my favorite greatest hits albums, 20,000 watt R.S.L. So, for now, they are the Australian pub icon.

For those of you unaware of Australian vernacular, R.S.L. is an abbreviation for Returned and Services League of Australia. It is a support organisation, with a variety of clubs (pubs), that supports the men and women of Australia who are currently serving, and those who previously served, in the Australian Defence Force.  

20,000 watt R.S.L doesn’t let up and I would recommend that if you are unfamiliar with Midnight Oil, that you should take a listen. While the band have released additional greatest hits albums, in subsequent years, I believe this compilation best represents their body of work.

While I don’t necessarily listen to songs for their lyrical meaning, Midnight Oil does make you sit up and take note. Their songs are infused with elements of political statements that often relate to the environment and indigenous issues. This may be off-putting to some of you, but don’t let it be. Their songs can honestly be enjoyed with ignorance of the topic.

Personally, I’m glad that bands like Midnight Oil choose to talk about issues they deem to be important through their music. Perhaps it was then inevitable that lead singer Peter Garrett would merge into politics and away from music.

As a result of this shift, the band went on indefinite hiatus in 2002. They have played the occasional gig, throughout the past thirteen years, although there is no sign of a true reformation or new album.

While we always want new music, from the bands and artists we love, it is still enjoyable to re-visit their past works. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 is one of those albums that when you play it, you honestly think you are playing a band’s greatest hits compilation.

It has been at least a decade since I heard this album from start to finish, yet despite being released in 1982, the music hasn’t dated. Unfortunately, many of the messages depicted in the songs haven’t changed either. I guess you could say that while Midnight Oil presented topics that were applicable to the time, until society learns from mistakes of years gone by, the songs will always remain somewhat relevant, even if only to acknowledge humanities shortcomings.

Outside World, Short Memory, Read About It, US Forces, and Power And The Passion are some of the best tracks off the album that you really must listen to. You will literally be dancing in uncoordinated motion, resembling Garrett’s on stage performances, as this album encourages you to move. Seriously, Garrett never stops moving but, his energy amplifies the performance and is one of those unique elements that make Midnight Oil a memorable band.

The only two tracks that I find difficult to appreciate are Scream In Blue and Somebody’s Trying To Tell Me Something.

Scream In Blue is just a muddled mess when it comes to the introduction. It doesn’t suit the flow of the album and runs for just over two minutes before radically shifting to a song that seems to have no relevance to the instrumental introduction. It isn’t a bad song once the vocals kick in, but I have no idea why the introduction was used or deemed necessary.

In a similar way, Somebody’s Trying To Tell Me Something is a nice song, but the final 30 seconds is an attempt to simulate the run out groove from the vinyl release. I do love run out groove hidden segments, but for a CD/streaming re-issue it should have been excluded, thereby remaining unique to the original vinyl release.

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 (Remastered) is available on CD, TIDAL Hi-Fi, iTunes, and Apple Music. There is no Mastered for iTunes version available, but the same mastering is found across all platforms, so I would recommend you just enjoy the album on the service that you prefer as there are negligible variations in sonic quality for this particular recording. 

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