Infected was the second CD I ever bought (yeah, yeah, after The Joshua Tree – I wasn’t exclusively furrow-browed agit-pop) and a jolly listen it is too. Matt Johnson was always pretty straight-faced, but by The The’s second album proper, he wasn’t merely serious – he was grave. ‘Sweet Bird Of Truth’ tackles the dying panic of an American pilot plunging into the Gulf of Arabia, swearing that he’s only done his duty, that he’s never believed in God, but might God be so kind as to lend a hand anyway? It’s bitter, nihilistic and one of many kicks in the teeth Infected dishes out to the good ol’ US of A. I think Leona Lewis covers it on her new album.
But it’s also a sterling tune, dramatic and punchy, almost demanding an uncomfortable sing-song. Junior dances like a drunk to it, rolling her eyes, flailing her limbs – rather like Johnson himself in that bankrupting feature-length video accompanying the album. Insane pop-political statements, eh? Weren’t the 80s great?
Ee ay ee ay – adios!