Radio Free Dystopia: NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS songs of love and revolution (1985)

This is the holy shit moment I’ve been seeking for several weeks now, and maybe longer. It’s decidedly and decisively dark and strange, but all that is hidden beneath the Orwellian brightness. It’s quietly terrifying in that way that the hair goes up on the back of the neck when everything seems too right. It’s perfect. Too perfect. Get what I’m saying?

How have I missed NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS for nearly four decades? How is it possible that they’ve completely eluded me for all this time? Or maybe I wouldn’t have listened. That’s possible too.


It strikes me that I always thought the end would come with all of us down here on the planet surface united (finally!) against the cloud people government rich. Us against the Evil Empire, you know? I’d always figured that everyone would come together and we’d be storming the Bastille. In fact it appears to be quite the opposite, that they’ve succeeded in undermining all the truths that might have bonded us and stirred us into a froth where we’re all feeding on each other down here while they carry on with whatever it is they do up above. It seems to me that the war is already lost and all that remains is the spiraling chaos and the inevitable blood bath.

How’s this for a cheery morning greeting? But I don’t know. It just wouldn’t have occurred to me back in 1985 when this album was released that it would be this way. It seemed the struggle would be more noble. This is not how I’d envisioned the revolution. It’s not even a revolt, unless you consider it a revolt against decency and reason.

Sad. It’s more like Mad Max than 1984 and 1984 was closer how many of us imagined it would be. The center of power isn’t a single giant entity. It’s our own tenacious addictive devotion to bad ideas.

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