XTC – Skylarking
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
This had been sitting in the new arrivals bin (the second one, the one that was closest to the door and never seemed to be weeded out) for what seemed like months. As if the staff knew this record was fucking awesome and for $6, a total steal. In fact, when I bought it I remember whoever sold it to me commenting on how good it was. And they were right, this album is pretty awesome mid-80s british psych-pop. It's got some of the cheesy trappings that almost every 80s pop record has, but the melodies are so fucking excellent and the arrangements so wonderful that it doesn't really matter. Currently, it's the middle of winter and overcast and I can still see dirty snow on the roadsides out my window, but this is helping “the sunshine come through.” A summer record if there ever was one, I cannot wait til the end of May when I can tote “Grass” along with me wherever I go. The b-side gets a little corny (see: “The Man Who Sailed Around his Soul”) and isn't nearly as immediately classic as the a-side, but this Todd Rundgren produced batch of pop songs is definitely worth having. To it's credit, the b-side has their biggest hit, from this album at least, the terriffic athiestic “Dear God,” which is a perfect late-album jam!