The Australian rock band Midnight Oil got together way the hell back in 1972. In the ’80s and early ’90s, they became an international creative force, and they did it without easing up on their strident anti-colonialist politics. (It remains wild that Midnight Oil had a massive international hit with the 1987 single “Beds Are Burning,” a song about reparations for the indigenous people of Australia.) Midnight Oil broke up in 2002, and they’ve reunited for one-offs a few times since then. Today, they’ve come out with “Gadigal Land,” their first new song in 17 years.
“Gadigal Land” is Midnight Oil’s first new song since the 2002 album Capricornia, and it’s a big, bouncy rocker that sounds a whole lot like an arena jam. But like so many Midnight Oil songs before it, the track is all about how Australia belongs to its Aboriginal people and about how white colonizers should get the fuck out.
“Gadigal Land” features vocals from a bunch of different indigenous Australian musicians: Blues-rocker Dan Sultan, poet Joel Davison, Stiff Gins singer Kaleena Briggs, and Coloured Stone leader Bunna Lawrie. But you can still easily pick out Peter Garrett’s commanding, impassioned bleat through all those other voices. Check out the song and read with Midnight Oil have to say about it below.
On Facebook, Midnight Oil write:
“Gadigal Land” takes its name from Sydney’s traditional owners, many of whom continue to live in the city. The Gadigal (also sometimes spelt “Cadigal”) lands include what is now the CBD plus areas from South Head through to the inner west. “Gadigal Land” is a provocative recount of what happened in this place, and elsewhere in Australia, since 1788.
“Gadigal Land” is out now on the streaming platforms. Midnight Oil will play in in-studio performance of “Gadigal Land” tomorrow night for Australia’s National Indigenous Music Awards.