mental
The eighties, man. It was a time.

Crossing over from my relatively sheltered experience with music into the vast open tundra of college radio was joyful and astonishing. It was freeing, intimidating, exhausting, and enlivening all at the same time. When I complain about the difficulty I have today in keeping up with the onslaught of new media offerings, I must also recall there was a time when I fervently wanted more, more, more.

But I needed some entryways. The shelves of the radio station’s music library were stocked with mystery. Once I crossed over from the more famed college radio mainstays — R.E.M., U2, the Cure, the Smiths — I was immediately confronted with obscure bands with inscrutable names. So if one of them had somehow crossed into my consciousness previously, they became critical to my ongoing self-education.

I’d never heard any music from the Australian band Mental As Anything before crossing into the station, but I remembered reading a review of their 1987 album, Mouth to Mouth, in Rolling Stone. That was enough. As I got my bearings, I circled back to that album repeatedly, as if it were the sturdy pole in the center of the roller rink while I was learning on greased skates.

I’ll admit that the buoyantly glossed-up pop sound of this particular album contributed to the sense of safety, especially if I was rebounding from, say, the scariness of Ministry’s “Stigmata.” I could be a fragile, fearful fellow in my cultural explorations. While still providing something sparkly and new, the fine fellows in Mental As Anything also offered cozy comfort.

Listen or download –> Mental as Anything, “Thinking Out Loud”

(Disclaimer: I’m not digging deep on this, but I believe Mouth to Mouth to be out of print as a physical object that can be purchased from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner than compensates both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. This one track from the album is offered here with that understanding and the corresponding belief that it impedes no fair commerce. That typed, I do know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

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