Clouds (1988) – The Go-Betweens

I could write a 10 thousand word essay about this song, but I’m a lazy tard. It incorporates Dylan’s Love Minus Zero in the concert version below and I find it captivating. I have written before and I’ll say it again, if you want to hear what Australian culture is like in sound, then just put on the Go-Betweens. They remain one of the most influential bands in Australia despite their mediocre attention in the mainstream. They are a cruelly overlooked band.

The clouds are here
They aren’t up in the sky.
I cupped them with my hands
And reached up high.

I said to these clouds,
“No more am I blind.
I have to see straight
And that will make me unkind”.

In a 1988 NME interview, McLennan said: “I maintain that the Go-Betweens write about love better than anybody else in the world.” The Go-Betweens became something accessible, yet still out of reach. They were praised by the critics, but fans seemed sceptical and the breakthrough didn’t happen.

Clouds showcased that juxtaposition: its uplifting tone is undercut by a deep sadness. Like many Go-betweens songs, it feels like a subtle loss of innocence, being both angry and wise, living under cloudy skies. A love lost, yet so close by.

The version below of Clouds is from one of my favourite concerts: The Go-Betweens Live at the Live at the Tivoli 8/6/05.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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9 comments on “Clouds (1988) – The Go-Betweens
  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    I really like what I’ve heard from them. Their popularity is kind of like The Replacements… more of a huge cult following.
    I like how they weave the songs together.

    • I love them. No other band makes me miss Australia more. I have two of the Replacement songs to download for my project because of your suggestions. I love how the betweens put Dylan into this. They know their shit lol

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        Those bands that flirt with cult and mass…are interesting. Usually it means they didn’t sell out and stuck to what they believe in…and you have to admire that.

      • The Go-Betweens wanted fame big time according to the 80’s interviews, but didn’t get there. They achieved influence on songwriters which is probably a bigger deal.

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        So much of it is about timing…I think that plays more of a part than talent does. It’s a shame also because there were a lot of bands that were better than the huge ones but never had a good chance.

      • I think in the annals of history they will get their just-deserts. I agree with your sentiments. How’s your family buddy?

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        They are doing fine…the mother in law went home last Friday…so we are all doing much better.
        How have you and your family been doing?

      • What happened to your mother in law?
        Colombia has been suffering from tow things.. A big COVId peak and a draconian government with socialist at its core. It’s been hard and I hate how they have taken away my Kid’s innocence by removing them from interacting with other kids. Totally unforgivable

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        She wasn’t really happy there and we weren’t either. It’s hard to live with different generations at times. She wanted things her way period.

        We are becoming more free here. Schools are open and the whole bit. I think by August we will be back to normal and largely are here…I’m sorry it’s that way there…

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