Under the Milky Way

Sometime in the recent past, I heard a song on KEXP Seattle’s The Morning Show with John Richards. And like I do when I don’t know the song, I capture it with the Shazam app. (I swear, sometimes it seems to take only a fraction of a second… how do they do that!)

Anyway, on one of these occasions, Shazam told me the song was “Under the Milky Way” by the Australian alternative rock band The Church. What really surprised me was to learn the song came out in 1988!

I’m vaguely familiar with the band, formed in 1980, but I cannot remember if I ever heard the song back when they released it. It felt like I was hearing it for the first time when it was on KEXP recently.

Lead singer and bassist Steve Kilbey wrote the piece with his then-girlfriend, Swedish-born musician Karin Jansson who was with the band Curious (Yellow). If you listen closely during the first solo/bridge, you’ll hear a guitar recorded through a synthesizer and other effects, producing a sound like bagpipes.

The song appears on the soundtrack for the 2001 psychological thriller film Donnie Darko. It also was played by the band, along with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, during the opening ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

I’ve heard people say that no good music came out in the 1980s. I don’t see it this way. Some favourites in my collection are bands, records and songs from the ’80s (and I’ve featured some of them already). For some reason, I tend to associate the decade with the summer season, maybe because I was young and loved to go to the beach (still do). Or perhaps because summer infers that carefree sense of youth. Yeah.

The title of today’s selection also reminds me of laying under the stars on a summer night, like my sweety and I did last August during the Perseid meteor shower (please see my post on “Clear Desert Night” for more on that). We had a lovely time driving together to Birds Hill Provincial Park, watching a few meteorite trails, and stopping on the way back for an ice-cream cone to top off our date night. With COVID-19 restrictions that seem to have lasted forever, and so few opportunities to gather with others in the last 15 months, we’ve had a LOT of date nights… and all of them have been special.

So today, as Winnipeg, Canada returns to the sunny and hot weather club after a couple of days of much-needed rain, it feels like a good day to post another song evoking the 80s, youth, summer, and yes… date nights in the 2020s with Sweety. ❤️

“Under the Milky Way” comes from The Church’s fifth studio album, Starfish.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the video for the song from The Church’s official YouTube channel:

Unofficial lyrics are courtesy of AZLyrics.com.

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