Sweet Bird of Truth-The The

Some certifiable chazmonaut claimed that The The were deservedly obscure musically, not just unfortunately so due to their band name that is essentially unsearchable on our modern internet. Just kidding, Clif said that, but he was wrong. This track, circa 1985 or so is interesting due to its prescient picture of the middle east in f***king flames, but more so the American in the sh*t way. This song perhaps was echoing Beirut, or maybe predicting skirmishes with Iran, but it goes beyond that, it places the US right in the thick of something. What it doesn’t get right, is there remains something of satirized American swagger and macho nihlism to the track. I don’t even think a cynical bastard like Matt Johnson could have imagined the US laid so low. He was right about something on the Infected album, whence this track comes, what he thought was the UK truly has become the 51st state of the US of W. Other standouts include the title track and “Slow Train to Dawn,” a Matt Johnson-empty-sex-with-disinterested-loverweak adulterer-duet special with a yet to be in the where-is-she-now-file Neneh Cherry, “Slow Train to Dawn.” “Kingdom of Rain” from Mind Bomb featuring a stunning Sinead O’Connor is that other kind of duet.

Video for “Sweet Bird of Truth” here.

4 Responses to “Sweet Bird of Truth-The The”


  • Geez, you left out maybe he most prescient song, Armegeddon Days:
    “Islam is rising, the Christians mobilizing
    The world is on its elbow and knees
    It’s forgotten the message and worships the creeds”

    “If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
    He’d be gunned down cold by the CIA
    Oh, the lights that now burn brightest behind stained glass
    Will cast the darkest shadows upon the human heart
    But God didn’t build himself that throne
    God doesn’t live in Israel or Rome
    God doesn’t belong to the yankee dollar
    God doesn’t plant the bombs for Hezbollah
    God doesn’t even go to church
    And God won’t send us down to Allah to burn
    God will remind us what we already know
    That the human race is about to reap what it’s sown ”

    That was what 20 years ago?

    And I’m not sure I’d call their obscurity deserved. He wrote a lot of really accessible pop tunes. Uncertain Smile, Beat(en) Generation, Perfect, Slow Emotion Replay… There’s a lot of fairly commercial stuff in that catalog.

  • Obscurity, pshaw, who cares? Art may be obscure but is no less truthful.

    The The are righteous, and deservedly so. Infected had some funky bass seemingly imported from Funkadelic, and Mind Bomb had Johnny Marr. Hanky Panky was….all Hank, and really what more do you need? Besides, the video for “I Saw The Light” had Johnson standing on the stainless steel eagle heads from the Chrysler Building, which looked frickin terrifying.

    Case closed. “Clif Clif” obviously kicked in head by emu.

  • I love The The. I would also have done Infected, but the video is slightly unfortunate and distracting.

  • matt johnson is god. and he’d beat the shit outta you if you looked at him funny. i like that.

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