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Sunday, 2 March 2014

THE GREATEST INDIE/ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM OF THE LAST 35 YEARS?

Readers of Eyewear will likely know that I think albums by Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey, Echo & The Bunnymen, Eyeless in Gaza, The Passage, Felt, Simple Minds, David Sylvian, Mazzy Star, Beck, The The, The Smiths, Pixies, The Cars, Split Enz, Blondie, B-52s, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, ABC, Nirvana, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, The Replacements, and U2 could easily form a list of the top ten best indie/ alternative albums since 1980.  A very strong argument could be made for the entire Smiths catalogue of albums forming the top of said list, followed by perhaps Pixies, without much critical damage being done.

However, every spring I return to a perennial of such amazing quality, I have decided to name it Eyewear's Greatest Indie/Alternative album of the past 35 year period (1980-2014).  The Colour of Spring by Talk Talk is simply put a miracle.  Nothing in their backstory would have prepared us for this.  The album's 8 tracks are on one level jazzy, catchy pop songs of great beauty, sung with a mournful, emotive tone - however the lyrics are devastatingly deep - meditations on life, religious belief (it is an atheist album), nature, beauty, and hope.

As a Catholic, I resist the temptation to downgrade it - instead, I welcome such a strong and beautiful atheistic statement.  As Flannery O'Connor told Alfred Corn in a letter, unbelief is the first step to being a religious person.  Such existential humanist works in art and pop culture help to further the necessary reflections on our lives, beliefs, and hopes.  Art should be moving, beautiful, and wise, and get us thinking - no other album I know of in the post-punk canon does this better.
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