Blue Sky Mining was MIDNIGHT OIL’s 1990 follow-up to their popular album Diesel and Dust. It peaked at number one on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) albums chart. It stayed at number one for two weeks in Australia and had top five chart success, in Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. It peaked at number twenty on the Billboard 200 and number twenty-eight on the UK charts.
The album’s first song, “Blue Sky Mine” addresses the asbestos exposure in the Wittenoom mine tragedy, carrying on the groups approach to promoting social justice. “Forgotten Years,” was the next single and was every bit as powerful as the first with a catchy chorus and deserves the same attention. The political attack on this album is more subtle, varied, and intellectual than on previous ones, giving the listener more to think about than just being hit over the head with the points. The next single that I love on this album is “King Of The Mountain,” a fantastic song full of life and beauty that just makes me smile when I hear it and turn the volume up loud. “River runs red” is a slower paced song, with some nice lead guitar playing, and lead singer Peter Garrett employs a restrained vocal style and sings of environmental exploitation. The album finishes with “Antarctica,” a very slow and mellow song that keeps the biting lyrics going and ends things off perfectly. With its beautiful packaging and nice mini replica of the original US LP, this is a terrific release with sound that is clear and crisp. The remastering is well-done and gives the album a fresh sound.
As hard as it must have been to follow-up the huge album that is Diesel and Dust, these guys pull off a winner with this one and it deserves a place in your collection right beside it. It may be a little more mellow and restrained sounding, but the message is clear…don’t sit idly by, go out and do something to create a better world.