Turning 30 This Year: The The’s “Soul Mining”

the the - soul mining

“Amused and confused by life’s little ironies,
he swallows his bottle of distilled…

— from Perfect, by The The

One of my favourite albums from the ’80s turns 30 this year: Soul Mining, the debut album by The The, released in September 1983. It’s got a lot of range — from the proto-Nine-Inch-Nails-ish synth-and-drums-heavy track GIANT, to the Smiths-y The Sinking Feeling, the dark and danceable album version of Perfect (the one with more minor chords and a bigger beat), the cheerful-or-mopey This is the Day with its gorgeous lead lines that show how well the accordion can work in pop music…

…and the heart and soul of the album: Uncertain Smile, which concludes with a piano solo that could stand very well as its own piece:

“A broken soul
stares from a pair of watering eyes,
uncertain emotions force an
uncertain smile”

— from Uncertain Smile, by The The

Here’s a high-quality recording of Soul Mining that someone’s posted on YouTube. Listen and enjoy!

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