Living in Oblivion, Vol. 4 Jill Hill Music & Songwriting

audiotrack Living in Oblivion, Vol. 4

reviewed by Jill Hill

Published in Issue No. 23 ~ April, 1999

At this point my peculiar backseat CD player needs one more CD to fill it up.

I have an attachment to eighties music, and Living in Oblivion: Vol. 4 contains such “I want my MTV” classics as “Dance Hall Days,” “True,” and “Come On Eileen.” I never bought any music from the early eighties. Somehow I knew that an entire album of Wang Chung or the Thompson Twins might be just a little too much. And I didn’t listen to the radio. I watched MTV, and my knowledge of eighties music is based on the videos that were shown in heavy rotation.

Nostalgia is the strong point of these songs, not the lyrics or the peppy beat.

Take “Dance Hall Days” by Wang Chung:

Take your baby by the heel
And do the next thing that you feel.

Not the most brilliant of lines, nor even very clever…just weird. And the singer, Jack Hues, looked like a bad version of Sting. Still, I like the song. It’s catchy and has a good dance beat. But nothing on this CD compares to “Come On Eileen” by the scruffily attired Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I don’t think this song has a burnout point for me. I can listen to it over and over and over. Each time I want to dance. I find this very peculiar.

It is as they sing: “I’ll hump this song forever.”

I bought this particular volume for the inclusion of “Come on Eileen” and “True”, as I was not familiar with many of the songs. How could I not have “True” sung by the seriously suave Spandau Ballet in my collection? Also it’s a ballad for the terminally depressed, and I have to count myself among this group:

With a thrill in my hand, and a pill on my tongue.

Then I found other songs I remembered, “Tenderness” (General Public) and began to like “Belly of the Whale” (Burning Sensations) and “Under the Milky Way” (The Church). The songs on Living in Oblivion have a certain innocent energy and lack of commercial contrivance (at least compared to what is on MTV now). Finally, the liner notes are very interesting and filled with many silly factoids.

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Jill Hill lives with some kids, some dogs, writes, and manages a restaurant where she tries out her new CD's. She listens to a variety of music, from Classical to Blues, but tries to stay away from most rap. In her words: "I am always on the look out for a new band or singer/songwriter that I will like. I like a CD that does not grow old and weary sounding, which mean I don't want buy a CD that can be found on the used CD sale table a month later. One of my favorite CD's is Neal Young's Everyone Knows this is Nowhere. My favorite writer is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and my favorite novel of his Of Love and Other Demons. X-Files is about the only TV I watch. I do not watch sitcoms and do not like music inspired by sitcoms. I'd rather listen to a sampled rap version of the Jetsons theme song."