27/09/2020: “Giant” by The The

When a piece of music is said to be “ahead of its time”, what does that mean, exactly?

Is it that there’s a sound which is yet to become popular? Can a song be truly original without being significantly better than what comes after, or should it be a kind of prototype?

It’s a vague concept: I couldn’t tell you how many years ahead of its time The The’s 1983 Soul┬áMining album is, because it does have a distinct 80s flavour.

But – like all great music – it’s timeless.

“Giant” stretches on to almost 1/6 of an hour. 10 minutes, to be plain. I wouldn’t say that it drags – not at all. It’s a diverse 10 minutes and there are far worse ways to spend that time.

The song starts lighter, with some casual synth riffing and a delightfully airy little marimba sound holding the melody down. The singing, decent though it is, is very much of its time!

About halfway through, something changes. There’s an incredible rush of intensity, as the drums build to a cacophony, and a chorus of vaguely tribal sounding voices kick in. Things get get very quickly, and that surge of energy just, inexplicably, keeps expanding.

At that point, what you are dealing with is more along the lines of texture, a wall of sonic exploration. When the bass-heavy synth kicks in at the end, the texture thickens until the whole thing positively drips with colour.

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