This Is Your Land

New releases in the New Zealand charts: 4 June 1989

  • Morrissey – Interesting Drug
  • Bobby Brown – Every Little Step
  • Simple Minds – This is Your Land
  • Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You
  • Jody Watley – Real Love
  • The Stop the Violence Movement – Self Destruction

Even though it’s not a strong Morrissey song, it’s better than all the other songs.  Maybe.  Maybe not?

Although, this is certainly the most arresting image from all the videos:


I’ll wager there’s not a skerrick of fat on these young fellas.

I have spent a lot of time mocking the hair of white men from the 80s, but very little time providing the same service for black men.


The hi-top.  I didn’t know what it was called until I looked it up, but even in the few rap videos I’ve watched from 1989 it was a pretty popular hair style. When I think about it, my focus on hair metal has been a bit racist.  This is pretty remarkable:


But I think the hi-top is actually way more out there.

I know that it is superficial, but I never understood that hair styles had something to do with the type of hair you had, and that an afro, or corn rows, or dreadlocks, were not actually just a “fun” thing black people were into, but hairstyles that work to control a hair type.  To be perfectly frank I think it’s something I only really thought about in my 40s.  I feel embarrassed saying that but it’s true.  I suppose it’s a fairly healthy thing that I didn’t walk around touching other people’s hair, but less healthy that I just assumed everyone’s hair was more or less the same.  Turns out: no.  Some hair is wiry and stiff and has a will of its own.  Some hair is soft and wavy and goes where it drifts.

And some hair fucking falls out and leaves you with a bald spot.

The whole photo above weirds me out.  I think it’s because the man doing the haircut in the photo above is topless which makes me think a cascade of confusing and contradictory thoughts that begins like this: “why is it ok to look at a man’s breast and not a woman’s?” and ends with questioning all reality as a cultural construct (yes, I am great fun at parties).

Where were we?  Bobby Brown.  I believe the correct response is Bobby Brown, boo! hiss! because of Whitney, but I have not engaged with the Whitney story enough to know if his part in her fall is real or not.  I do know that the song is catchy but I don’t really like it.  Jody Watley’s song is not catchy but very similar sounding.  The big, abrasive drum sound was certainly in and has not aged well.  Like rap has not aged that well from that era.  Bobby’s effort is middling, and the Stop The Violence Movement only a bit better.  It doesn’t seem to have the flow that would come later.  It feels very clumsy and slow on the whole, and makes me appreciate Run DMC a whole lot more.

Now for the white music.  I think I can summarise it this way: Bon Jovi is exactly what you would expect a Bon Jovi ballad to be, Morrissey is exactly what you would expect a Morrissey song to be, and the Simple Minds song was better than I thought it would be.

I have very fond memories of singing “shot to the heart, and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name” with my mates in third form, but I’ve never been a big Bon Jovi fan.  I’ve never hated them either.  They’re quite good at their kind of thing, and it’s quite hard to be quite good at their kind of thing because it has been done so often.  Also, Jon has buckets of charisma and is pretty easy on the eye.  Listening to this song now though feels tiring and predictable.

Morrissey’s song is predictable too.  Well, the song is predictable and the video is just flat out odd.  Whilst I approve of the image of private school boys in uniform and high heels I have no idea what it means in relation to the lyrics, or why on earth we are getting a message about animal rights.  Again, I approve the message but can’t see the connection to the lyrics which are pretty average for Morrissey (so better than most), but which seem suitable to our present in 2019:

There are some bad people on the rise
They’re saving their own skins by
Ruining other people’s lives

Which leads me to the odd conclusion that the Simple Minds song might be the best song released in the week of 28 May, 1989 in New Zealand.  This makes it sound like I hate Simple Minds.  I don’t.  I view them like Queen: good up to a certain point in time, and then bad afterwards.  Belfast Child left deep awful scars on me and This is Your Land is from the same album: Street Fighting Years.  I first heard the band with the fantastic single Alive and Kicking and owned that album: Once Upon a Time.  In the category of “Why do I remember this but not other far, far more significant moments in my life?” I can vividly recall singing the chorus of Alive and Kicking in perfect time with me kicking a mate up the arse at playtime on the courts at intermediate.  My mate wasn’t impressed.  I felt bad: that I had kicked a bit hard, and that he hadn’t appreciated the joke.  The “joke” being timing the word “kicking” with the act of kicking someone up the arse which – on reflection – might not have been that funny.

This is Your Land.  It seems like it will be shit because the title is risky (nationalism) and because the music starts off super low key, uncatchy, and a bit pretentious.  The music doesn’t do much for some time, but begins to develop and build and the annoyingly vague lyrics seem to fit better as they go on.  Then we get to the final third where things lift considerably.

Having said that it’s only 6 out of 10 interesting in a poor week.

  • Morrissey – Interesting Drug (5/10)
  • Bobby Brown – Every Little Step (5/10)
  • Simple Minds – This is Your Land (6/10)
  • Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You (4/10)
  • Jody Watley – Real Love (4/10)
  • The Stop the Violence Movement – Self Destruction (4/10)

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I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō