I was 19 when I first heard The The’s Soul Mining; it was a big album in my social circle. It was a thoughtful, deep, somewhat downcast yet emotionally buoyant album that resonated with all of us. It was a thinkers’ album and today, on the eve of the 30th anniversary of its initial release, it still is. Matt Johnson, the mind behind The The, gave us all a musical gift for eternity and it’s fitting that the folks at Sony Legacy should want to re-visit it with a special edition.
What you get: the original album with original artwork (there were some variations on the cover art) on 180 gram vinyl (granted, I’m not any kind of audiophile, but it is a nice element) and a second album of 12″ remixes (how essential they became in the ’80’s). While the remixes are nice, and at times fun to listen, it’s the proper version of Soul Mining I want to re-sink my teeth into.
“Uncertain Smile”, with its (now-signature) opening was the first song that became familiar to me; if memory serves, it was the theme song for WLIR Radio’s “Off The Boat” program in ’84, ’85. “This Is The Day” (possibly the most well-known song) was an early favorite, having seen the video on a local, experimental over-the-air video station (no, not U68 – this was about 6 months before U68 began broadcasting). The track that had the most impact on my friends and subsequently the one I heard most often was “I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)” – a sharply personal track that still makes me remember that period of my life. “Giant” was the other stamped-in-memory piece – after re-listening to this album, I am mired in a state of sweet nostalgia.
If you aren’t familiar with The The or Soul Mining, I have the simple directive of saying “do yourself a favor and get this – in whatever version you can, but get it”. This is essential listening in any era and this very special edition makes the memory even sweeter now.