Having found the perfect meta name for a band, Matt Johnson released “Soul Mining” in 1983 under the band name The The.
Although Matt was subject to a bidding war and got a huge advance from the winning label, the record sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom; still, the homemade vibe enhances its authenticity, with intensely private thoughts and emotions set to a cheap drum machine. There was enough polish, however, to make it sound sensational, especially when played loud. Can you tell I love this record?
The opening programmed drums of “I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All of My Life)” always get me, immediately thrusting me into the album’s beautiful contrast between mechanical music vs emotional voice and lyrics. All in all, Matt wrote great songs, enjoyable just for a sing-along or for deeper reflection and identification. Not mopey, as is the lazy assessment of this album. Just listen to “This is the Day” in the car on a sunny day with the windows down.
It didn’t get the greatest reception when it was released in 1983 but has been reassessed over the years as somewhat of a masterpiece. So much that it was released in a super deluxe edition which my wonderful husband got for me, featuring the originally intended tracklisting along with remixes and bonus tracks. A treasure.
And special mention of the artwork, created by Matt Johnson’s brother Andrew, was unlike anything seen before or since.