The Church: Under the Milky Way
When The Church’s 1988 album Starfish was released, I was just 13 months old. Armed with that information, you might not be surprised to discover that this week’s prompt left me scanning through a petty array of choices in my music library to make this post. Still, I ended up with enough options to need to whittle down to a final decision, and I think this song was inevitable the whole time.
Somehow, “Under the Milky Way” managed to escape my ears—despite my elder brother’s pervasive collection of albums—until 2001, when the soundtrack to Richard Kelly’s instant cult classic Donnie Darko (not officially released until 2004—an only in the UK) dredged up decades-old songs into new vigor for listeners both familiar and new.
Since then, I’ve been introduced to numerous cover versions of this song (several from our own boyhowdy via his blog Cover Lay Down), and all of them have their own, dark appeal. The instruments reverberate in a defeated manner, matching vocalist Steve Kilbey’s exhausted singing. Allegedly written about an Amsterdam venue, the vague lyrics accompany the tune into an anthemic rise that is simultaneously irresistibly catchy and indefatigably memorable.