Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rolling Stone's Top 100 Albums of the 80's - #48 - XTC Skylarking

Continuing the series on the Top 100 Albums of the 80's.  Or at least the ones I have....
Continuing to work backwards:

#48 - XTC - Skylarking

Rolling Stone states Skylarking "abound[s] in elemental imagery and music that is pastoral, understated and carefully arranged.".  Allmusic states the XTC  "expand[ed] their signature sound by enhancing their intelligently melodic pop with graceful, lyrical arrangements and sweeping, detailed instrumentation".   I can agree with that.   I have several earlier XTC albums, and while they're good, none has the "feel" that Skylarking has.  It just sounds lush....  Maybe it's the production by Todd Rungren.

Now, that said, I'm not sure I'd rate Skylarking quite so high.  I'd put it above John Fogary's Centerfield, but none of the other prior albums.  The sound is really great.  And there's 4-5 outstanding songs (my favorite is "Earn Enough For Us").  But it's simply not that memorable overall.  the album peaked at #70, and no songs in the Top 100.  It wasn't a breakthrough, it didn't really sell that many copies.  They had more success before, and after......  So I kind of don't get it.

But, like Suzanne Vega, it has that great sound, and it was different.  And like Suzanne Vega, it's an album I had on cassette back in the 80's.  Sometime in  the digital age, I picked up a few of my favorite songs from the album, and (only recently) completed the album.

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