An old friend of mine and his father were into XTC, but I never listened to them. Let me say: what a fucking album. It flows together incredibly, the sound is somewhere between Genesis, The Beatles, and Duran Duran, and this thing has hooks for days. Blown away, really. Favorite tracks: "That's Really Super, Supergirl", "Ballet for a Rainy Day", "Earn Enough for Us"
For the longest time, XTC was "bad Tears For Fears" in my mind, and I never actually sought to listen to them outside of Dear God; listening to this has kind of reinforced that idea, and Dear God isn't even *great*.
Such an interesting and fun album about nature, love, and simpler times from 80z gems, XTC. I love GRASS! Multiple other favs on this cool album are The Meeting Place, Ballet For A Rainy Day, Season Cycle, Earn Enough For Us, Big Day, and Dying. I remember when single Dear God first got air play and I was like "wow!" and "what?" Still such a unique and thought-provoking song. XTC continues to be a band one can get deep into. Sometimes at first listen it's easy to miss something. Look at all of these 80z bands standing out from this list. So excellent!
“Skylarking” by XTC (1986) First time listen for this album and group. The question is, which album am I listening to here? The original vinyl release (without “Dear God”), the updated release (with “Dear God” but without “Mermaid Smiled”), or one of several digital re-releases which have “Dear God” in various positions among the last four tracks (or simply tacked on at the very end in the Spotify version)? For a concept album, it makes a huge difference, especially since “Dear God”, “Mermaid Smiled”, and “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul” are the three most interesting songs on the album. What we have here is twelve pathetic attempts to sound like the Beatles, supplemented by three works of genuine creativity. In terms of sound, this album lacks melody, coherence in chord progressions, and meaningful lyrics. It’s tough to make up for these huge deficiencies with innovative color, but they try. The end result is like a palette without a canvas. “Dear God”, despite all the “controversy”, is a sophomoric and self contradictory squeal about the problem of evil as evidence against the rationality of belief in God. There are much better treatments of this theme in contemporary music (John Lennon’s “God” on “Plastic Ono Band”, for argument-ending instance). I wonder if Virgin intentionally created the controversy as a marketing strategy. Now, “Mermaid Smiled” and “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul” are definitely worth listening to, despite the extraordinarily weak vocals. But two tracks do not an album make. 2/5
No. Just no. Please please no. NEVER AGAIN
Everything pop could be. Amazing.
This album was awesome. It varied enough in style to keep me entertained the whole time, and had some really cool grandiose bits. Definitely will listen to this album again
Excellent start, just a couple of (slightly more than usual) weird tracks in the middle but still really really good.
Mermaid Smiled is so good. Dear God is so great. Every song is different and kept the whole album very enjoyable to listen to
An incredible combination of great songwriting with new wave/psychedelic sounds ingrained in the 80s. The lyrics are incredibly poignant and feel very fresh even almost 40 years later. Dear God is 80s equivalent of Pure Comedy from Father John Misty. Highlights: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, and 15.
incredible album, every song was banger after banger 10/10
So fun and so 80s; absolutely incredible instrumentally
XTC released a lot of memorable records in the 80's and Skylarking might be their masterpiece. It's a lush sounding album that highlights the band at their height of creativity. Not a record full of hits, it's a consistent, solid album that flows beautifully and Dear God is one the most interesting (and greatest) songs the band has ever produced!
This is one of the best pop albums I've ever heard. This kinda thing is why I do this 1001 album challenge; to find albums I'd never find otherwise. I don't ever listen to music like this, so I never would have found this alone. It's fascinating how so many songs are so catchy and yet so unpredictable; the melody often wanders to places you don't expect. It's quite refreshing to hear pop music that's actually interesting. reminds me of The Seeds Of Love by Tears for Fears
I liked the creativity and variety
q surpresa agradável
Os tons verdes da capa desse álbum foram bem escolhidos - esse LP me dá vontade de fazer uma agradável caminhada no mato. Excelente introdução pra uma banda que eu nunca havia realmente parado pra escutar.
I think this is the fourth or even fifth listen through of this one, and suddenly I like it, I like it a lot.
Grass is my favorite.
One of my all time favorites
Delightful. Once again, I wonder why I wasn't in love with this band in college. They're great!
I remember XTC being a band, but only recall hearing Dear God. The album sounds like one that I would have acquired back in the day had I known it. Kinda quirky with and upbeat happy vibe. I like it!
Oh, this album was a breath of fresh air. I know for a fact that had I known it existed in 1986, it would have been a favorite. Why did it take this long? Interesting instrumentation, interesting lyrics, and all so enjoyable I listened to it four times today. "Umbilical" is much more fun to say when it rhymes with "cycle." Favorites are "Grass," "Ballet for a Rainy Day," "Season Cycle," "Mermaid Smiled," "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul," and "Dear God," but there's not a song I don't like. It's so much fun to get an album I've never heard before that I love so much!
What a weird, varied, and fantastic album.
Many would consider this unpopular pop but I love it the arrangements are beautifully presented and you can sense Todd Rudgrens production presence. A mix of genres like psychedelic rock and alternative pop, as well as a sound I can only describe as spacey, I love this record! My favs were Dear God and The meeting place!
this was kinda cool, soft rock-ish stuff meets soft jazz kinda like mr bungle does in parts (for want of a better frame of reference). would listen again 4/5.
i like this
leuk maar beetje ouwe lullen muziek
Super good. Never really listened to them much before.
This was way ahead of its time
Groovy, pool vibes
Not bad. interesting and weird style
Summers Cauldron and Grass feel like a part 1 & 2 of the same mellow opening. The Meeting Place takes the next step in the journey. Ballet For A Rainy Day into 1000 Umbrellas is a fun counter point to the front of the album, though i like Ballet as a song better than 1000 Umbrellas. Then the album takes this really weird psychadelic space turn culminating in Another Satellite. Mermaid Smile has a great guitar intro. Cool concept album overall, one worth revisiting but first blush is a meh. Yea without Dear God as the final track, how does this album wrap itself up?
Sounded like the Beatles.
Quite pleasant. Would listen again.
really enjoyed this group all though I had never heard them before. Putting them on my play list.
Atmospheric post-pop landscapes punctuated by gorgeous storytelling.
Interesting album. At times it sounds very modern (especially the production) and at other times they invoke the Beatles or the doors. Lyrics are a bit weak at points but the majority of songs are clever and catchy. Probably a 3.5 but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt because it's different enough.
Sounds like something I get recommended by a Twitter mutual and end up liking. 'Dear God' is my favorite.
I feel a bit let down by the end of this album. It just went on a few tracks too too long. That's preventing me from giving it 5 stars. But I still loved it. 1. Crickets... Become fun 80s thumps... Becomes foot-tappin' pop! 2. Smooth transition to another pleasant ditty. Eno/Byrne vibe. Crickets out. 3. Another similar vibe---this one like a machine made of pleasant and well-fit cogs. I am loving this 4. And it keeps getting better. There's this video-game organ sound in the background which I love, but it's disguised in the mix so that the whole song just sounds goofy and fun. Oh my GOODGod that guitar solo slipped in. I'm drooling. 5. Slowing it down a minute. Makes sense, because that last song was a very tough act to follow. 6. Smooth transition to this song which is somehow miserable and goofy at once, kind of a masterpiece. I love the descending riffs and violins, which remind me of gentle giant. 7. Beach Boys?! by the way, Every once in a while this album surprises you with a disgustingly pretty jazz chord, and it's just the best. 8. Woah, straight up 80s guitar pop. Still stuff to love here, but it's comparatively a bit generic here. 9. The comparative slump did not last long. Love the opening here. This song is a whole different vibe---something a bit "Revolver". 10. Space song! 11. High energy space-pastoral 12. Weird change of pace: noir to funky jazz, partially in 7. This one felt a bit out of place. 13. Ballad... Might be about death? A weaker track 14. Funny orchestral piece 15. Starts with a child singing (meh). Kind of an atheist anthem---seems a bit preachy (lol).
Really interesting production on this album. Pushes boundaries just enough not to reach pretentiousness all while keeping a level of character and charm.
Todd Rundgren helps this album. As a thematic piece, it has a Beatles Sgt Peppers vibe that finishes weaker than it started. Dear God feels thrown in at the end - which of course it is and while it's a good song, it doesn't feel connected to the album. 3.5/5
Enjoyed this. Not heard of this band before and was pleasantly surprised.
Slow to start but all comes together nicely post 1000 umbrellas. Ballet for a Rainy Day and The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul were my highlights. Also loved the string arrangement in 1000 umbrellas. Get around that Todd Rungren production.
I actually really like the sound of this
Rating: 8/10 Best songs: That’s really super,Supergirl, Earn enough for us, Dear god
First time listener - new fan of this album. I feel like this album would have held up in any of the decades that followed its release in '86. It sounds very 80s, but - at the same time - very current. If the right bands covered these songs today, they'd be huge commercial success, IMO. Plus, the vocal remind me of Ben Folds.
What a brilliant idea. Start a record with summer cricket/bird songs. That way, every listener comes into the music with a happy feeling. And then, deliver with some good 80s pop music. I like this music a lot. I'm really pleased with the amount of British pop music on this list. Makes it worth the list's Janes Addition addiction. I have always heard about XTC but the name made me think they were goth or glam or something. Nope! They sort of sit nicely between Psychedelic Furs and the early 90s Britpop movement for me. There are so many sounds on this record that sound like they significantly influenced...wait for it...I say it all the time............Blur! Who cares? I do say it all the time. But, it's true and it feels like I found a new Blur record. "That's Really Super, Supergirl" sounds like it could be on The Great Escape. XTC is a band that will be in rotation for me. For sure.
Pop-rock suavecín. Me ha gustado.
Enjoyed this. I just want nice rhythmic jangle pop that chugs along at a good pace. I don't want my ears blown off with guitar wankery or stupid drumming. Maybe a bit pedestrian at sometimes but couldn't ask for more from a jangle pop band
Ekalla kierroksella kuulosti aika peruskamalta, mutta kun tokalla kertaa kuunteli keskittyneemmin, niin biisitkin tuntuivat paremmilta ja tuli noteerattua taustalla hiljaisempiakin instrumentteja. Loppujen lopuksi päädyin tykkäämään!
Nada a ver com que eu costumo escutar, mas gostosinho demais
The album is neurotic and baroque at the same time, like 1000 Umbrellas, and which will remain one of the milestones of pop. …Produced by Todd Rundgren.(7/10) FT: Dear God, 1000 Umbrellas
Rocked! Really enjoyed it
Perhaps the best Beatles record not made by the Beatles, this is maximalist chamber pop that veers into overindulgence now and then. Partridge sings like McCartney and writes songs like Lennon. There’s real joy and some pathos, and the quality is sustained at a high level across the record even it’s occasionally too clever by half. 4.2 for 4.
XTC is one of those bands that I enjoy when I hear them, but have never heard more than a handful of songs. So, I was glad to have the chance to listen to an entire album. I thought it was excellent. 4 stars.
A decently catchy album. Nothing groundbreaking, but enjoyable.
I had no idea what to expect from this album but it was pretty good. I really liked 1000 umbrellas and the rest of the songs were enjoyable too
Solid and enjoyable album with some Britpop and 60s pop elements. I can't tell you why I like it specifically but I can tell you that I do!
Really intriguing album!
This album is lush and complex. It foreshadows quirky, witty and nuanced indie groups like Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, The Antlers etc. XTC was definitely ahead of their time.
The Wikipedia page for this album compares it to both "Smile" and "Abbey Road." It's not nearly that interesting. My opinion of it improved after a second listen, but not appreciably so. Best track: Sacrificial Bonfire
Está agradable pero no podría decir que me gusta. Lo que más me molesta es que ya llevo muchos tibios treses ultimamente. Sube a momentos arriba del 4 y luego cae a 1 o 2.
it was pretty good
un po' impersonale ma ascoltabile
Dudo que hay algo mejor del género early alternative.
"Super, Supergirl How you stopped the universe from dying But you're never going to stop me crying" (That's really Super, Supergirl) La verdad es que un poco meh, me da la impresión de ya haber escuchado este disco 20 veces entre los 1001 mejores.
not a super memorable album. Starts off strong, but then bubbles into forgetfulness. British 80s new wave stuff.
80s bratty jangles
I started off skeptical, not really interested, but as it continued I really got into some of it. Synthy and experimental. Another Satellite was catchy
This seems like an album that would need multiple listens to appreciate. On first listen it's alright but nothing special, despite the glowing critic reviews
Not sure where this sits, some OK ideas but neither prog nor indie
Very English in a Kinks/Beatles style. Listenable. Interesting to read about writing, production and release issues.
Nice soft rock, interesting church sounds in some songs.
I quite enjoyed this. It reminded me of things I used to listen to in the early 2000s. Like Eels etc
3. it's fine, pleasant enough. ends on one of their big songs which gives it a bit of a nice send off.
Interesting but nothing special
Enjoyable listen throughout, but not sure I would return too often
New wave/prog crossover, pretty cool but kinda drags
Pretty good, funny lyrics, listenable
New wavey and very British. It’s okay.
Extremely well produced alt-pop record here - I went reading into it on wikipedia and the story behind the production here and the relationship between band and producer is really fascinating, would highly recommend. The album is pretty good, with a few catchy tunes - but it's not really my thing.
need to listen again
I dig how psychedelic this can get, but I don't love it. S'okay.
Probably my favorite XTC record. Quirky. 7/10
2.7 Enjoyed it being in the background. But it wont earn a spot in the my memory as something I should listen to again. The last song I've played countless times without tying it to an artist.
Some stand out hits like "Dear God" and "That's Really Super, Super-Girl", but the rest lyrically and vocally wasn't there for me. Some cool instrumentation though
Pleasant but alright
I'll always enjoy some XTC, even if I discovered them in reverse via Shriekback and still think I prefer the latter group. There aren't too many standout moments here, with the exception of some of the melodic lines in Earn Enough for Us. It's a tad overstuffed, reminding me of Out of the Blue nine years earlier. However, the genre influences here suit better. In an alternate variety, it's XTC instead of Lennon that draws pointless ire.
I liked the way it started off. I got kinda bored towards the middle of the album as some of the songs felt samery, but it picked up again pretty hard near the end. I just didn't really enjoy the main singer's voice, and I thought it brought it down. I really really liked the instruments and sound that they had. Plus the album had a nice vibey energy to it. Overall though, I thought it was a decent album. Favorite track: The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
I liked it, but its not for me... right now
Nicht schlecht aber auch kein wirklicher burner
Ganz cooles Album, aber schon crazy
Solid production but didn't take my breath.
Interesting album. Didn't love most of it, but had a couple really cool tracks ("Dear God").
It's pretty funny that right after a '60s influenced album from the '80s, I got another '60s influenced album from the '80s. But while I hated The La's self-titled album, this one is pretty good (note: The La's self-titled was released in 1990, but recorded in the '80s). It's another pop-rock album, with influences from the '60s psychedelic rock acts, Pink Floyd, Beatles, and most notably, The Beach Boys. As far as I can hear, this is most likely a Beach Boys-esque album. But that doesn't mean that the album only copied the styles and sound of other bands. It's has an entirely new sound. And that alone impressed me. I would love to enjoy this album, but unfortunately, '60s sounding pop-rock vibes are probably not my thing. But I can see why it is included in the list. The production and the instrumentals are all interesting, and it has a few personal highlights, particularly the fun first five tracks, the slightly trippy "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul", and the originally unreleased and unsurprisingly controversial "Dear God".
I'm not sure about this one at all really. I think I enjoyed it? Maybe? But also maybe not. Cool sounds but didn't love it.
This album had some major hits and major misses, much like the entire 80s musical genre. Season Cycle gave me major Beach Boys vibes which I loved. 10000 Umbrellas had me confused. I would listen to a few of these tracks again but not the entire album.
Another easy listen that was very enjoyable
Cest pas pire, mais pas plus. 3.15
I enjoyed the listen, but I don't think I am going to revisit the album or the artist again.
alright. quite liked and then started to dislike it.
This seems like a pretty accomplished and interesting album... but it's not really doing it for me. The lyrics are fascinating, the arrangements are fun, I like the singer's voice but overall it's not really my jam. I can't imagine ever listening to this for fun, or in fact, ever again...
Varied and energetic - I thought it might be along the Morrissey line, but it ended up being a bit more interesting in my mind.
Never knew I knew any of these - quite enjoyed
Talking Heads vibes? I think? Or maybe I'm confusing with Flaming Lips? Either way, pretty fun and upbeat but not my usual style. 3.5
This reminds of that Prefab Sprout album, minus the emotional elevation that made it feel so triumphant. Yet another '80s britpop album on the list. Obviously I enjoy it to a certain degree, but it also becomes harder and harder for these to stand out. A few tracks on here I dug, even though the rest of it felt pretty bland. Hard to say what would have made this better, but it's still pretty good. Favorite tracks: Dear God, The Main Who Sailed Around His Soul, Big Day, That's Really Super Supergirl. Album art: Really like the colors on this one. The texturing is cool too. 3.5/5
This album was listed as alternative but it feels more like something you'd hear at some 80's dive bar or night club. Very interesting and quirky, like many of the others that have been popping up. I wouldn't consider this worthy of this list but it was enjoyable.
Dear God was a great story telling song! Also liked Sacrificial 🔥 Bonfire. Very interesting album, each song was different than the last one. Never heard of this band but found it intriguing to listen to. Super, Supergirl!!
I hadn’t listened to this group before. It’s a happy sounding album, even when the songs deal with misery, breakups and death. The lyrics are rambly and witty, with an interesting 60s-meets-the-80s feel to it all. The song I really liked I learned was left off of the original release and hastily re-added after its success as a B-side in the US, “Dear God.” Ironic because this is the song I see myself revisiting from this album. There were a variety of instruments and arrangements, but struck me with a sameness that felt less interesting to me than it should have. I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed.
The jazz elements of the album stopped me giving it a 4 star.
Inoffensive very 60s but pretty bland
It’s interesting, the many directions that the ‘new wave’ bands of the 70s wandered off in. This has a psychedelic, sixties, almost orchestral pop feel, with hints of the Beatles (especially Ballad for a Rainy Day followed by 100 Umbrellas). Dear God is a great song and I especially like bringing in a guest vocalist. It was the only song that caught my attention on the first lesson, but everything’s better second time around.
A few bops. Real fuckin 80s tho
Started off strong but quickly got into everything I hate about the 80s
One standout song. The rest felt a little bland.
ok album. does this need to be on this list?
Decent pop rock, I should dive a bit more to.
Opzich wel fijne britse sound, maar mij te poppy
I don't remember anything from this album
wasnt too bad
Rollo patatero. Parece que va a ser como Rufus o un musical, pero no. Rollo patatero.
mid-80s singy-songy music. interesting lyrics.
2/5 nothing rememberable
Got boring real quick
Shame, I really wanted to like this. XTC have done some brilliant stuff; 'Love on a farmboy's wages' is still one of my very favourite songs after 30 years and I play several of their other singles regularly. This album was entirely unknown to me and I'm disappointed - I was hoping to discover some new gems. Maybe it needs more time to grow but in comparison to the obvious immediacy of their other work, it seems pretty weak. Some occasional nice stuff, but only serving to highlight how poor the rest is.
That's a no.
Moderately enjoyable but pretty forgettable
I'd heard a few tracks before but it was nothing like this. I was dissapointed to be honest and didn't really like.
I guess you had to be there
I don't get XTC. It sounds like children's music. Maybe their lyrics are good? I can't get past the annoying singsong vocals and nursery rhyme melodies.
Not a fan of XTC, but interestingly, I liked the song "Dear God". Not sure if it's because I already know of it, or its tune is nice.
basically every track on this album is "X but worse" whether it's the beatles, bowie, whatever. the only really good song wasn't even on the album at first.
Saccharine for most of its runtime and still resoundingly corny when it isn't, Skylarking is just too lame for me to get into. I'll give them credit for experimenting with different genres in the back half, but Andy Partridge's vocals keep me from really enjoying the more ambitious sound. The most interested I was at any point in this album was when they flirt with more outright pop stuff, so maybe I should give Todd Rundgren a shot. Key Tracks: That's Really Super, Supergirl
First track reminded me of the new radicals and it never recovered.
Frekar einhæft albúm. Fyrsta lagið, Summer's Cauldron, er samt banger.
I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe under different circumstances, but I don’t have the time to care today.
Felt like background noise
Some tracks were interesting, like "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul". But the singing was done in a way that sounded out of tune a lot, which made the album mostly annoying to listen to. Sounded like Olaf when trying to hit high notes, lol. Best track: "Dear God"
Another that wasn't bad, but also wasn't very exciting. I enjoyed Summer's Cauldron and Grass the most.
Despite it not being my thing, it had moments that I didn't mind.
XTC oli itselleni ihan vieras nimi ja oletus bändin + levyn nimestä oli jotain hapokasta elektroa. Genre osoittautui kuitenkin semipositiiviseksi yllätykseksi. Kovasti samantyylistä kasaripoppia kuin hieman aiemmin listalla ollut ELO. Valitettavasti laatu ei ole ihan samaa tasoa kuin monilla muilla listalla esiintyneillä genren edustajilla. Levyn kohokohdat on ihan sujuvaa poppia, mutta keskimäärin kappaleet ovat hieman tylsähkön puoleisia. Kakkosen puolelle vierähtävä 2,5.
Not very special, but not badbad. For the most parts. 2 Weird and boring. "Dear God" is really good though.
not for me
Solid in the first half, with interesting and unexpected melodies for an 80s Brit pop effort. Unfortunately gives in to its roots on the back, resorting to that intolerable sniveling vocal delivery the Brits were so fond of at the time plus overdramatic yet somehow equally bland songwriting.
XTC never did anything for me
Niet geheel mijn ding. Nogal zagerig soms
Not an easy listen, that’s for sure
Hated it. Most of it sounded like 80s sitcom theme song music to me. Dear God was the best track and even that didn’t really vibe with me.
I found it quite boring. Not for me.
Any album that features a fire-breathing takedown of God himself (Dear God) can't be all bad, right? Well, no, but Skylarking still turns my stomach. Why? I should love Skylarking. After all, it's considered by many to be the best post-psychedelic pop album since Sgt Pepper's. (Actually, it's more like a curdled mixture of The Beach Boys and Joe Jackson with an overlay of Rundgren at his most cute.) On the plus side, Alan Partridge and Colin Moulding's melodies and song structures are idiosyncratic and unpredictable. The production by Todd Rundgren is lush. And yet. For me, the trouble begins with Alan Partridge's plummy vocals--it's that pasty, Anthony Newly theatricality so prevalent in the 80s--eccch. The songs structures may be unpredictable, but rarely has baroque pop had so little payoff. There's nothing I would ever hum here, although Earn Enough For Us comes close. It sounds like something Bob Mould might have written--too bad it's performed with none of his toughness. The production is overstuffed to no effect except nausea--it's like a bacon sandwich with maple syrup poured over it. XTC's stab at raga rock--Big Day--is especially bilious. And the self-importance and grandiose self-regard on display is enough to sink the project on its own. It's clear that XTC is going for a masterpiece--fat chance. Still, I've got to give them some credit on the level of craft--Skylarking must have been a mind-numbing amount of work to put together, although it's almost as much effort to listen to. And then there's Dear God. Not a great song by any means--it's too self-consciously pedantic for that--but at least it's fun.
Not my style