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The The – Infected (1986)

The The – Infected (1986)
MP3 @ 320 – 140 MB | Covers included

 

Take me by the hands and walk me to the end of the pier. Run your fingers through my hair and tell me what I wanna hear. Will lies become truths in this face of fading youth? From my scrotum to your womb, your cradle to my tomb.

I used to love this one way back in the day when I was but a rabid pup! One of the first albums I was able to buy; one of the first I really got obsessed with!

In the midst of mid-eighties dross, this challenging mix of New Wave/ Post Punk / Agit Pop stood like a sore thumb.

It’s a record that was very innovative at the time, both thematically – with unflinching existentialist perspectives, a focus on political issues and an exploration of the power of the few over the masses, etc. – and stylistically, with experimental sounds ahead of its time.

Matt Johnson here lets loose with real – and proper – invective against the vile Yuppy Kingdom and many other societal fuck-ups in the midst of that execrable period of Reagan & Thatcher greed, evil and ruin (not dissimilar actually to the current execrable period of Obama & Brown greed, evil and ruin!)

With intelligent – often hilarious – barbed poetic lyrics framed in expansive post-punk and a variety of other musical styles, this is an excellent cohesive work and surely Johnson’s magnum opus.

A propos his invective against selling out, it now seems, however, that Matty’s changed his tune and submitted somewhat to the Yuppy God of Moolah! Yap, recently The The enjoyed a surge of attention in the United States thanks to an M&M advertising campaign, which used the band’s great “This is the Day” as its theme music.

M&M’s! … WTF? Who said leopards can’t change their spots? Oh … a leopard said it? Well, OK then! … I guess if a Tiger can do it, why can’t his cousin?

Anyway, “Infected” was The The’s third album (although Burning Blue Soul was originally credited to “Matt Johnson”.) It’s reputed that the album used 67 different musicians and 3 producers! The money lavished on the LP and companion full-length video seemed, even at the time, to be extravagant for an obscure band. Epic were still prepared to take the risk (something that would never happen today!)

Many of the tracks explore Johnson’s recurring existentialist themes such as the inherent evils of modern society and the inevitable reactive alienation from that society amongst the few intelligent enough to really think for themselves.

Around this time too, Johnson was also beginning to focus on the maladies inherent in so-called “World Issues” – stuff like the arms race, the so-called “AIDS disease” and the violent culture clash between the West and Islam.

An extreme example, was the wonderful “Sweet Bird of Truth”, telling of a pilot trying to save his flailing plane whilst flying on a bomb run over Arabia. This was actually released just prior to retard Reagan’s Libyan bombings, and was prophetic of larger greed-driven imperialistic attacks by certain western powers on sovereign Islamic lands. The timing of the record’s release really messed up its sales numbers, especially in Yankland, when numerous record shops refused to promote the song!

The “Infected” LP spawned the following UK singles;:

* “Heartland” – which reached No. 29 (UK) in August 1986
* “Infected” – which reached No. 48 (UK) in October 1986
* “Slow Train to Dawn” – which reached No. 64 (UK) in January 1987 (Matt Johnson’s vocals were accompanied by Neneh Cherry here)
* “Sweet Bird of Truth” – reached No. 55 (UK) in May 1987 (Matt Johnson’s vocals were accompanied by Anna Domino here)

In 2000, Q magazine named Infected amongst its 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.”

And it is a wonderful and powerful collection. A joy to hear once again these decades later!

No, actually I need to rewrite that last sentence … “A joy to hear once again these years later!”

Yeah, that’s better! The word ‘decade’ makes me feel so f*cking ancient!

Review taken from Amazon.com:

This one-man band is sadly underrated and virtually unknown, possibly because Matt Johnson is too literate for the layman to stomach, or possibly just because he tends to take 5-year-long vacations once in a while. No matter. Infected was his first platinum disc, and rightly so. It’s a commentary on the state of the world today – mainly Britain, since he lived there, but really it could apply to any “civilized” modern country. Not every song is explicitly about politics, but every one has the same mood and theme – that things have reached the point where they can’t go on the same way any longer and something must be done. Every song burns with desperation as Johnson tries to find a way out but can’t.

One thing I like about Johnson is that he’s almost never arty – you know how a lot of the time bands are so self-conscious that they basically beat you over the head and scream “We’re arty!” at you? Well, he never does that, but he still always remains very poetic. Even from the song titles you can see this – “Slow Train to Dawn”, for instance. Johnson pegs the problems of the world so accurately it makes me wish I had thought of it, and sometimes even predicts further developments – “Sweet Bird of Truth”, a song about a soldier on a doomed flight to fight in Africa, features the line “Am I to cry like a baby/Die like a man/When all the planet’s little wars start joinin’ hands?” Guess what events happened just a bit down the road in the Middle East?

When he’s not singing about politics, he’s singing about man’s quest to find himself. The line “I’m just a regular guy” is used a lot throughout the album – in fact, the album tells a consistent story about “just a regular guy” whose life slowly is falling apart and who doesn’t know what to do, asking “Tell me what I want in this world” on the first track. It’s a very moving story, but the character in it doesn’t find his answers (although The Mercy Beat provides a ray of hope for him) – Johnson leaves that to you.

The very dark, despairing lyrics are masked by airy (and really catchy) dance-pop, which may be seen as a drawback by some, but for others may serve to make the songs all the more memorable. If you liked Infected, I recommend Mind Bomb, The The’s next album – if you liked that, I definitely recommend Infected. They’re completely different works but at the same time they’re remarkably similar, and many songs in Mind Bomb are almost sequels to songs from Infected (if you want to see how the relationship in “Slow Train to Dawn” ended, just listen to “Kingdom of Rain”, another duet with another pop singer).

Lastly, if you really dig this album, know that a full-length movie was made called “Infected: The Video”. Track it down on EBay (they usually sell about two or three copies every time you look) and get a copy – the videos are every bit as great as the music.

Tracklisting:

1. Infected (4:30)
2. Out of the Blue (Into the Fire) (5:11)
3. Heartland (5:08)
4. Angels of Deception (4:39)
5. Sweet Bird of Truth (5:03)
6. Slow Train to Dawn (4:14)
7. Twilight of a Champion (4:22)
8. The Mercy Beat (7:22)

BONUS TRACKS:
9. Infected (12 inch single version) (6:12)
10. Sweet Bird of Truth (12 inch single version) (7:37)
11. Slow Train to Dawn (12 inch single version) (6:35)

Here she be mofos … get yerself infected!!

 

 

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February 12, 2008 - Posted by | Music_Alternative, The The, _MUSIC

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