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#FridayFind | Midnight Oil – “Beds Are Burning”

This song should not have been a hit. There, I said it. This song is a sort of anthem… for paying your rent? By Australians? In a bizarre chorus that I can only imagine is two roommates arguing about the world at large (“How can we dance when the earth is turning?/How do we sleep while our beds are burning?”) and their unpaid rent. At the very least one of them turns out to be the voice of reason!

Digging deeper, it actually turns out to be a protest song with the goal of returning lands to the Aboriginal Pintupi tribe. Which now explains the anti-Imperialist lyric: “Four wheels scare the cockatoos/From Kintore East to Yuendemu”.

What makes this song such a guilty pleasure for me is the raw, unpolished vocals that typified most 80’s New Wave of it’s day. Lead singer Peter Garrett does not try to “Americanize” his voice, instead accentuating the accent throughout. And who doesn’t like a song that starts with epic trumpet blasts?

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#FridayFind | Toto – Africa

The time has come for my inaugural #FridayFind guilty pleasure pick. And what better artist to start out with than Toto, and their amazing #1 hit “Africa”.

Why has this tune endured for me? Partially because the lyrics make absolutely no sense. I have no idea why a woman coming on a mid-day flight has any damn thing to do with rains in another country. And I don’t know why a man cares about Mount Kilimanjaro’s similarities to Mount Olympus. My money is on keyboardist/vocalist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro merely needing lyric lines to rhyme.

While not quite as embarrassing to knowing all the words to “Careless Whisper”, when I was a young lad, I would rather die than admit that this cheesy song was one of my all-time favorites. It wasn’t until I grew into my own in NYC and a close buddy, tech journalist Chris Velazco, shared his joy for the tune too! What followed was repeated karaoke entries of the song at Sing Sing and other dingy sing-along ‘oke bars across the 5 boroughs.

One such occasion happened in San Francisco in front of a majority of my colleagues at TechCrunch. The moment I submitted it, a pang of fear gripped me. What if we were laughed out of the room? Surely such an unironic tune with a killer marimba and pitch perfect harmonies would get the crowd going? To my undying joy and adulation, nearly everyone gleefully joined in with singing at the top of their lungs.

As you can see, even to this day, I quite enjoy the thigh-slapping action a good jam of “Africa” produces.

So this just happened #africa

A video posted by Chris Velazco (@vlzco) on

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