XTC Song of the Day thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by George Co-Stanza, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    It's why I posted that Rundgren interview some pages back. He's absolutely right that the human brain has limits to how much information it can comfortably and enjoyably process. Go beyond that limit, and the brain gets overwhelmed and fatigued. Rundgren's also right that the failure/inability to tour hurt the band in several ways. First, by restricting the band's exposure, it hurt album sales, especially with the waning popularity of MTV. Second, and perhaps more important, it made XTC a hermetically sealed band. Touring gives a band instant feedback regarding what works and what doesn't. It also gets the band away from the studio. Given free rein over ever-expanding technology, Andy produced increasingly synthetic music.

    I own every XTC album, but after O&L I find them increasingly less enjoyable to listen to, even though I admire the craft that went into them.
     
  2. piston broke

    piston broke Forum Resident

    I suppose that's the beauty of XTC as I'm completely the opposite!

    As a pedant I must point out that there's not much synthesis in I'd Like That or Your Dictionary but, oddly, I do know exactly what you mean.
     
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  3. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    Today's song is "You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful"



    I could see this being accused of being another one of Andy's wordy songs, but I like it. I can't say it is a favorite from Wasp Star, but it's a nice album cut that it is pretty enjoyable within the flow of the record. The layering of the different vocal parts in the second half of the song is really neat.
     
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  4. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    I agree. Andy was also a compulsive and iterative demo maker, these songs were already honed to death in Andy's home studio before they even got to the proper studio session. Just like Pete Townshend, whose music also became more synthetic over time. Of course The Who still perform, but they just trot out the old crowd pleasing hits.

    I prefer the Stones method - do all the work in the studio, and the first take where the whole band gets all the way through the song, that's the keeper.
     
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  5. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    Interesting contrast. In fairness to Andy, he still has interesting musical ideas, he just massages and manipulates them to death. The Stones ran out of ideas 35 years ago IMHO, but when they had them they knew enough to leave well enough alone.
     
  6. sparkmeister

    sparkmeister Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abergavenny UK
    Hi All,

    I've only just noticed this thread and I'm making my way through it slowly but surely. I'm old enough to remember 'Making Plans for Nigel' when that came out but never really got into XTC until about 15 years ago. I have still yet to hear any DoS or the Apple Venus albums.

    Anyways, I don't plan to retread over old ground but I was surprised by the negativity towards 'Melt the Guns'. If it's guilty of anything, it's a bit repetitive on the chorus but then again, that's true for a number of Andy's songs. Without wanting to get political I wonder whether some people just disagree with the song's sentiments rather than a case of just not liking the actual lyrics? :shrug:

    I would have liked to have seen more love for 'Life Begins at the Hop' too. Classic early XTC!
     
  7. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    My personal politics are somewhat to the left of Bernie Sanders...so whilst I fully agree with the message behind Melt The Guns, the sentiments are expressed in a terribly ineffective way, and on a musical level, it's quite possibly the most irritating item in my entire music collection.
     
  8. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    You And The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful - I like the breezy feel of the song, but it feels like it sort of gets stuck in one gear and never gets past that. It's a pleasant listen, but unlike most XTC songs, the basic motifs established in the first few seconds are never explored any further. It just doesn't really go anywhere unexpected or particularly interesting.
     
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  9. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    I agree with this. I have seen some make their own single CD of Apple Venus and Wasp Star, had the band decided to do a single album instead of breaking them into two, and it seems like this song never makes the cut. It wouldn't for me either. It's a solid tune, with certain things about it I quite like, but it's not really notable.
     
  10. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    I think this is a common problem throughout most of "Apple Venus" and "Wasp Star". A lot of it seems one-note and repetitive.
     
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  11. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    Today's song is "Into the Atom Age"



    Interesting song. Their early punk influences really shine through in this one, and Andy's barking seal vocal is on full display. Not a bad little song, but not one I really seek out on its own, like much of White Music. I do like how the keyboard work gives it that feel that you are listening to just another punk song, if you catch my drift.
     
  12. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    As much as I enjoy the Barry Andrews era, I'll admit that Into The Atom Age isn't really one of my favourites. It has a cool hook, and there's really not anything that I actively dislike about it...but at the same time, there's not really anything that I actively like either. In some ways, it feels like a pastiche of the first side of White Music (or perhaps an early draft of Radios In Motion).
     
  13. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    "Into the Atom Age" - if I want to listen to the Jam (or early Elvis Costello) I'll listen to them. Sounds dated and cheesy to me.
     
  14. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    Today's song is "1000 Umbrellas"



    This is one of those songs that gives me goosebumps every single time I listen to it. I know Andy isn't always fond of his singing skills, but he should be damn proud of this song; his vocal delivery couldn't be more perfect. And that string arrangement is absolutely gorgeous. I'll be curious to see if others love this one as much as I do.
     
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  15. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    Sorry George but no goosebumps. Just trying to suppress my gag reflex. The Glass Onion strings are pretentious even by Andy's standards, and the vocal delivery is annoying af. Glad you love it tho. :shrug:
     
  16. One of two songs on Skylarking that irritate me (the other is Dying).
     
  17. Yes, an example of Andy "too wordy" writing style. It's also over-produced -and why did he have to add the annoying "uhhh" so many times? I still think it's a pretty good song that could have been great.
     
  18. kaztor

    kaztor Forum Resident

    Man, love reading all this about one of my favourite bands. Just can’t keep up with it every day.

    Keep it going, guys! :righton:
     
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  19. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    These posts make me sad...but I'll get over it. :D
     
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  20. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    I've always enjoyed this one. My only complaints are on the production side - Rundgren doesn't know how to record strings and gets a particularly "sour" tone out of them, and the phasing is gratuitous.
     
  21. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    I can see why some people might not take to 1000 Umbrellas, but I quite like it in the context of Skylarking's first side. Its crass self-pity and hollow bitterness seem to work well after the romantic Ballet For A Rainy Day. Plus, the melody is interesting, and Andy delivers what's probably the most impassioned vocal on the album.

    As far as the strings go, I think they actually work better with Rundgren's synthetic sound than they would if they sounded like a "real" string section (it'd push the song over the line into pure cheese, for one).
     
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  22. dthomas850

    dthomas850 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I agree with you 100% This song is an absolute classic.
     
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  23. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    Good to see I am not totally on an island here. :p
     
  24. George Co-Stanza

    George Co-Stanza Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    America
    Let's do another today!

    Today's second is "Ladybird"



    There is a good song in there somewhere, but it feels like the song just didn't come together in the right way to really work. Some nice melodies, and I like the almost-jazzy instrumentation. But hey, Mummer was the first full album after they stopped touring, so they were obviously trying out all kinds of new different things in the studio, for which I will credit them.
     
  25. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    Ladybird just might be the most frustrating XTC song to me. It starts off so magically, with those gorgeous strummed chords, and then Andy's vocal comes in, humming one of his loveliest melodies/vocalizations. Cue the first line: "Oh, ladybird." It sounds fantastic! And then...nothing. The melody goes nowhere. What once sounded beautiful just sounds stale. It drags on and on. Even later on, when those early melodies are reintroduced, they're buried beneath distracting harmonies and extraneous instrumentation.

    Most fans seem to adore the song, so I'm sure I'm missing something here. But I just can't get past how promising the intro is, and how disappointing the rest of it is.
     
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