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Skylarking

XTC

1986

Buy At Rough Trade
Skylarking
Album Summary

Skylarking is the ninth studio album by the English rock band XTC, released 27 October 1986 on Virgin Records. Produced by American musician Todd Rundgren, it is a loose concept album about a nonspecific cycle, such as a day, a year, the seasons, or a life. The title refers to a type of bird (skylark), as well as the Royal Navy term "skylarking", which means "fooling around". It became one of XTC's best-known albums and is generally regarded as their finest work.Like XTC's previous Dukes of Stratosphear side project, Skylarking was heavily influenced by the music of the 1960s. Most of its recording was at Rundgren's Utopia Sound Studio in Woodstock, New York. Rundgren played a large role in the album's sound design and drum programming, providing the band with orchestral arrangements and an assortment of gear. However, the sessions were fraught with tension, especially between Rundgren and bandleader Andy Partridge, and numerous disagreements arose over drum patterns, song selections, and other details. In 2010, it was discovered that a wiring error made during the mastering process caused the album to have a "thin" sound. The problem was corrected on subsequent remasters. Upon release, Skylarking was met with indifference in the UK, rising in the album charts to number 90, while both of its lead singles "Grass" (backed with "Dear God") and "The Meeting Place" peaked at number 100. Early sales of the album were hampered by the omission of "Dear God" from the album's original pressings. In the US, the song became a college radio hit, causing US distributor Geffen Records to recall and repress Skylarking with the track included, and propelling the album to number 70. Following the song's growth in popularity, it was the subject of controversy in the US, inspiring many angry phone calls to radio stations and at least one bomb threat. Skylarking was later listed on "100 greatest albums of the 1980s" lists by Rolling Stone in 1989 and Pitchfork in 2002.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.03

Votes

10939

Genres

  • Rock
  • Pop

Reviews

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

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"

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Thu Mar 25 2021
2

“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

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Thu Jan 05 2023
3

This is a little too cutesy for me, but it reminds me of the first two Eno records in a way, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

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Thu May 06 2021
2

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.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
2

Moderately enjoyable but pretty forgettable

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Mon Sep 06 2021
2

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.

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Mon Sep 06 2021
2

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*.

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Thu Nov 10 2022
2

Honestly, they’re just kind of a mediocre Tears for Fears

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

Everything pop could be. Amazing.

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Sun Dec 12 2021
5

incredible album, every song was banger after banger 10/10

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Thu Jan 06 2022
5

So fun and so 80s; absolutely incredible instrumentally

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

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!

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

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

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Sun Sep 04 2022
5

An awesome album and XTCs best in my book...and that's saying something. This album is legendary for the acrimony between band and producer, Todd Rundgren. Apparently Andy Partridge and Rundgren were at each other's throats throughout the sessions. I don't know what the source(s) of the conflict were, but if music this inspired is the result then it was well worth every hurt feeling and acrimonious gesture. This is the album where XTC picked up the gauntlet of best British Psychedelic Pop band since the Beatles threw it down oh so many years ago. And I feel like Rundgren plays no small part. Favourite songs; Grass, Supergirl, Ballet for a Rainy Day, the jazzy The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul, the brilliant Dear God (which was not included on the original release and frankly seems a little out of place with the albums theme) and Sacrificial Bonfires. But really pointing out individual songs defeats the point of this album as every song is a little pop gem that deserves rapt attention. No brainer 5 stars.

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

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!

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Fri May 13 2022
3

Inoffensive very 60s but pretty bland

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Thu Apr 27 2023
3

I have a lot of time for XTC and Black Sea, Drums and Wires and English Settlement are brilliant albums. Hope they come up later. I don't quite buy the 'late stuff is even better' - this has some lovely songs but it doesn't quite cut through, feels a bit 'classic' to me, though the occasional cut-through of the Wiltshire burr is always a joy.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
3

Vocally, there's some hint of the same back-of-the-mouth-bounce-from-the-roof Curt Smith (which can be traced back to the Beatles) but musically this album is everywhere in both good and bad ways. Starting with the good, the mix of instruments and callback to the rock of the 60s make for a 'modern' take on the genre, which is great for 1986. "Season Cycle" is a fair example in a song that one could expect to hear from the B-sides of a Beatles album, or a forgotten Paul McCartney experiment. As far as interesting songs, "1000 Umbrellas" takes the podium for this. Bright, a bit funky, it stands out and prevents the album from being monotonous or held prisoner by a decade. The bad, and this is subjective of course, is that the album is quite literally everywhere. There is not really a theme, or any kind of pattern that an album can usually convey. It is quite literally an album of songs, rather than a cover to cover story. Maybe this is where XTC only enjoyed moderate success here, in that the album just lacked something to really grab onto. Unless a song is particularly exceptional, it is hard to buy an album without at least one or two non-negotiable songs. Objectively, this is album is really good work and if listened to as a compilation, could even be called excellent. The problem is that realizing this could be too little too late for a lot of listeners. "Another Satellite" is a great song and probably the most identifiable as being an 80s sound consistent with the British offerings the world would get a la Tears for Fears, arguably the reason why XTC gets undeservedly, yet understandably overlooked. Until we get to "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" which seems to rudely interrupt the non-existent monotony by introducing a tone change entirely. The best news is that this album scores 3/5 in that it makes a case for being on this list, but the not so great news is that should it ever get bumped in favor of some other album the protest would probably be minimal.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
2

New wave/pop album with only one exceptional song, tragically standing out in comparison to the rest of the album. XTC isn't a well known band, it doesn't have any strong position in any genre, and hasn't done anything revolutionary for music progression. In my opinion, the whole album actually feels like a filler for the single Dear God, which is a really good song, probably causing controversy even nowadays. Very smart lyrics and accompanying beats and melodies work amazing on this song, it's something I'm going to revisit every once in a while. Meanwhile, the rest of the album is totally anonymous. Nothing stands out, nothing caught my attention. There has to be something that I am missing, because there is no chance that Skylarking is on this list only for the song Dear God. Well, maybe time will tell, but at the moment the rating won't be too high.

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Wed Jul 26 2023
2

A really strange album, not quite rock, not quite pop and not quite psychedelic - a real mix of all three with leanings towards the rock/pop side. Despite all of the issues they had with the recordings and the abundance of choices they had with their demos, XTC managed to capture the feeling of significant life milestones including birth, young love, family, labour, illness, death, sprinkled with moments of wonderment. Best: Dear God Worst: Dying 2.5 stars

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Thu Aug 03 2023
2

I listened to it twice. I want to have an opinion but I just can't make myself form one.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
2

Generic ‘80s music. Not horrendous, but I’ve heard way better versions.

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Sat Nov 25 2023
2

Some parts of "Dying" remind me of early Floyd (I think?) especially with the vocals being quite dragged out and with the whiny/minor tones. Overall quite unremarkable. I guess it tries to go for a psychedelic sound but dosen't quite get there in my opinion. Feels quite constipated throughout, lots of tension built up without too much resolution. (Just realised this is the band Karims friend, Lucy, suggested).

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Sun Nov 26 2023
2

For there to be above average music some music must be below average. This band makes the normal distribution work. Not bad music, but the singer sounds like being rick rolled for 49 minutes, the instruments, especially the piano have some fun riffs, but its not enough to save it.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
2

This album is decent pop music and just fine for what it is. Todd Rundgren could have done them a favor and left his melodica at home. Has anyone, anywhere ever said, “Wow, that tune really had some jammin’ melodica?” “Big Day,” has excellent bass work. “Dear God,” is a good tune. We need more songs mocking the idea of imaginary space buddies. No wonder it was left off the first pressing, it hits too close to reality for some people.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
2

A disappointment to me, lifeless songwriting. Having grown up on Black Sea and English Settlement, and even the wildly inconsistent Mummer, I remember being let down by Skylarking upon its release. For a release by a beloved band, this is one I will continue to avoid.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
2

Terribly boring. Probably was never going to connect with this as 80s British pop isn't exactly my cuppa tea. I'm not convinced I'm hearing 15 distinct songs here. It all kinda blended together with the same sort of ideas but that's probably worsened by me getting bored of attentively listening due to the dullness. Production is good I can tell these guys care about the presentation of their sound but damn is 15 songs probably 10 too many tracks for me.

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Sun Feb 14 2021
1

No. Just no. Please please no. NEVER AGAIN

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Mon Nov 15 2021
1

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.

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Mon Jun 26 2023
1

I like XTC's sound and when they find a hook for their songs. But too often their songwriting just meanders until it gets back to the catchy hook. That's fine unless the song doesn't have that hook. "Mermaid Smiled" is a perfect example of a hookless, meandering mess. "Earn Enough For Us", "Season Cycle" were decent songs. "Dear God" is just whining that seeks to blame somebody else for humans being assholes to one another due to our own folly and hubris. It became a hit simply because it gave d-bag, hipster college students the illusion that they were rebelling against their upbringing. Not so edgy.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
5

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

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Fri May 14 2021
5

5* for Dear God alone, the rest is pretty sound too.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

Excellent start, just a couple of (slightly more than usual) weird tracks in the middle but still really really good.

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Mon Aug 23 2021
5

Mermaid Smiled is so good. Dear God is so great. Every song is different and kept the whole album very enjoyable to listen to

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Sat Sep 11 2021
5

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.

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

I liked the creativity and variety

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

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.

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Sun Mar 06 2022
5

I think this is the fourth or even fifth listen through of this one, and suddenly I like it, I like it a lot.

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Wed Mar 30 2022
5

One of my all time favorites

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

Delightful. Once again, I wonder why I wasn't in love with this band in college. They're great!

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

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!

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

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!

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Wed Apr 13 2022
5

What a weird, varied, and fantastic album.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

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!

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Wed Jun 01 2022
5

I have always loved this release. XTC has always defied categorization. Each song exists as stand alone gems. Smart pop? Chamber pop? Whatever we call it works for me. Also, Todd Rundgren as producer is a good match for the guys.

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Thu Jun 23 2022
5

New Wave megalith XTC takes a left turn after their last album, taking inspiration from late 60's psychedelic pop. This sound is a perfect fit the songwriting talents of Andy Partridge, who expertly weaves various different sounds in and out of each song. Listening to Skylarking feels like listening to something special, like what the Beach Boys' Smile was meant to be. It genuinely feels like there are no low points in this album. Excellence.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

Fantastic album! The first time it was okay, but the second time I listened to it was amazing. Can’t wait for the third try. The start of the album is the best and dear god is a good finish. Love the way some of the songs flow over into eachother. Favourite songs: - Summer’s cauldron - Grass - The meeting place - Dear God Honourable mention: ballet for a rainy day + 1000 umbrellas

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Sun Sep 04 2022
5

So I've straight up never heard of this band. Never heard of the album, never heard any of the singles. And it was terrific. It's like a Talking Heads sort of thing, with a lot of cool vocal harmonies. Like if the Beach Boys were an 80s new wave band. Anyhow, loved it.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

This is the perfect blend of sweet, salty, and bitter to me. It's got tons of that anxious, foot-tapping energy, mixed with a tiny bit of that Steely Dan cynicism, but plenty of wacky fun in the production. Lots of Beach boys backing vocals, funny early Fairlight sampling, just silly songs performed seriously. Sounds like an extremely contentious recording process, from reading the Wikipedia. On that page, there's a picture of Andy Patridge self-seriously belting into a mic while reading from a comic book, and I think that pretty much sums it up for me! So wacky and fun and also serious. Gets me in all the right ways.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

Lush. This is about the album I expect Brian Wilson might have made if his brilliant, 20-year-old self had lived sometime in the mid-1980s instead of the late 60s. Which is high praise. It's not without its musical associations with the mid-80s zaniness of, say, Oingo Boingo and Danny Elfman, which I could take or leave generally. But this also reminds me of a British work that distinctly predates Talk Talk’s post-rock turn as far as experimentalism, multi-instrumentalism, recording/editing process, production, and genre-bending. This is art pop at its best. And I quite like it. It's so bright and warm and has layers not just in its sonics but in its lyrical content as a concept album. I liked almost every song. Though, by the time we got round to “The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul” and “Dying,” I was feeling tired and maybe could have skipped those two. Perhaps it could have been shorter, but it really isn’t all that long. I think it’s just a lot to take in at once, especially given there isn’t much quite like it; ie, I’m not bringing anything to the table that might help me ease into this album. It’s a completely fresh sound and I think these songs will grow on me. I’m going 5 stars. I’ve listened to a few songs off this album before, but never really sat down with it. It’s pretty incredible. And I bet it sounds great on a hi-fi speaker system.

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Sun Dec 25 2022
5

Wow, I was worried at first, but as thw album just went on I loved it more and more, then I went back and I loved the songs I was initially questioning, and the whole album really clicked for me. It's really interesting, as I hear the 60's sound people say they here, but I also hear some music that would come from the 90's britpop era, but like, not bad? It's hard to explain, but I encourage if you think this album was close to clicking with you, listen again, it was really lovely, and I think this album is great. Can be a tad whiney at times in the vocals, but it doesn't detract past a small part of a song near the beginning.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
5

Shout out to Charles for bringing this one over to spin. I really enjoyed this record. A lot of records take several spins before I start to “get” it but there is something about “Skylarking” that just speaks to me. Every single song was filled to the brim with stuff that made me just say “wow”. The drum programming, the guitar tone, the vocal harmonies, the HOOKS (“Ballet for a raaaainy daaaaay // Silent film of melting miracle plaaaaay”). Oh! Also! The transitions between songs are so seamless that when we were spinning the thing I didn’t even realize a new song started, just thought it was a long bridge! I loved every bit of this album. It is so fun to listen to even with darker tracks like “Dying” and “Dear God” (speaking of which, Partridge’s delivery of why he can’t believe in God in the final verse is an incredible performance). This is most definitely going to be an album I return to again and again and so, thusly, verily, it is a 5/5 from me. Favorite track: “Earn for Us” with “Dear God” as a very close runner up.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
5

My favourite XTC album. Each track is a unique masterpiece, and I never got tired listening to them over all those years since I buyed this record.

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Wed Feb 01 2023
5

This is another fave album of all times. I enjoyed the linked version of the album that included Dear God at the end. It's a great song but it breaks up the continuity of the album. For those not aware, it was added at the last minute and was not initially in the set roster. It's a great song, again, but does not fit the flow of the rest of the album.

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Wed Feb 08 2023
5

Es como si hubiera viajado a una realidad paralela y estos la hubieran pegado en serio en vez de los Beatles o alguno más conocido que haga brit-pop

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Wed Feb 22 2023
5

‘Skylarking’ is a beautiful, musically sophisticated pop album about life and death, tinged with 60s psychedelia. Funnily enough a lot of albums from the mid 80s were tinged with 60’s psychedelia, but this is one of the best.

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Fri Mar 10 2023
5

production/arrangements. yacht rock

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Wed Mar 15 2023
5

Extraordinary. A concept album that sounds utterly of it's time, but also has smudges of ELO, Joe Jackson and 1960s pop in there. It all comes together brilliantly. This is squarely in pop rock territory, but occupies the more questing, ambitious end of the spectrum. Why am I not surprised that Todd Rundgren had a hand in it? Regardless, for music of this ilk, this is about as good as things get.

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Mon Mar 20 2023
5

So, a confession. Another XTC album (The Big Express) is, for personal reasons, my most listened to album. And yet I'd never listened to their most successful album. Here I am, so thank you. So, many of us know 'Dear God' (make sure you listen to an album version that includes it), but this is just a luscious, expansive album that sounds like nothing else, yet sounds so... Swindon? I loved it, but will jump into the reviews now to find out what my non-English cousins make of it.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

Today we have yet another artist that has never come up on my radar. It’s always exciting when this happens, but also makes me question how sheltered my music listening must be to have never heard these apparently essential artists. Anyway, let’s listen! Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Summer’s Cauldron, That’s Really Super Supergirl, Mermaid Smiled This is the first album I’ve heard in a long time where I felt truly blown away. Admittedly, it was the remastered version that I listened to, but the sound was so full and rich, and the mix of typical rock instruments together with orchestral sounds was magnificent. After listening, I looked a little more into the album and was astonished to find it came out in 1986. This sounds remarkably more modern than you might expect. Overall, this was fantastic. I’ve definitely found an album I’ll be returning to a lot.

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Thu May 25 2023
5

This is one of those albums where every song sounds like a single, the pop sensibilities are so strong. I come back to this album often, there are so many great songs and the lyrics are fantastic: Grass, Supergirl, Earn Enough, Big Day, Mermaid Smile. My least favorite song is probably the one that was actually a single, Dear God. Despite its year of release, it does not sound dated given the avoidance of many of the 80s musical excesses, which may be attributed to the production from Todd Rundgren, although his impact is sometimes questioned. There is a dreamy fantasy feeling to this album in terms of sound and instrumentation, but also a working class Englishman vibe given the lyrical subject matter, the two meld oddly well together, presenting a surprisingly optimistic take on some benign topics. Love this one.

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Mon Jun 05 2023
5

now they tell me they made more Beatles tracks

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Wed Jun 28 2023
5

Sometimes in the pocket with Tears for Fears, sometimes providing a melodic power pop link, it had been long enough since this list served us up a random 80s British new wave album I was open and ready. Really enjoyed and saved for a re-listen

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Sat Jul 29 2023
5

As an XTC fan, I feel this list is lacking some key albums (Drums & Wires, for example, would have been an obvious choice for inclusion). I also feel that Skylarking is generally somewhat over-represented in their discography, but man is it an immaculate listen. Jam-packed with great songwriting and little brilliant moments that add up to such a rich whole. As an album experience, it’s probably the most cohesive XTC ever got. I also want to mention that Andy Partridge is one of my favourite lyricists in pop, as someone who usually doesn’t put so much importance into lyrics in music. He uses wit, poetry and humour to make texts that are great in their own right, and combined with his songs elevate eachother even higher. This is not to ignore Colin Moulding’s role, as him getting 5 songs on the album rather than the usual 1-2 per album is another thing that helps to make the album so special. Dave Gregory also needs to be mentioned for his musical contributions, for example his tasteful(ly short) guitar solo on ”That’s Really Super, Supergirl” and impressive string arrangement for ”1000 Umbrellas”. What a great band :)

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Thu Aug 31 2023
5

A gorgeous and lush 80s prog prop album that evokes pure joy. It's very Beatles-esque: the dissonant strings in "1000 Umbrellas" sound like "I Am the Walrus", and the vocals in "Big Day" sounds like "Lucy in the Sky". It's a very welcoming and accessible album, with countless hooks and plenty to pay attention to on each listen with coming off as overwhelming. Really, it's just like the Beatles during their Sgt Pepper-era mixed with other 60s sounds (the sunshine pop of Young Rascals) and of course the contemporary scene (the synth-pop of Depeche Mode, the power pop of Elvis Costello). Todd Rundgren and Alan Partridge did an amazing work on production, despite the disagreements. Everything is well-mixed. Nothing is out-of-place or hidden. Synth effects are appropriately used, maintaining this consistent bright sound while at the same time throwing new cool effects with each track. Tracks flow seamlessly between each other, it's hardly noticeable due to how smooth it is. The only downside is that the songs get weaker in the second half. They're just as creative and innovative, but there are less hooks and energy. This leaves most people to lose interest. I'm almost tempted to lose a star due to how many songs this affects, but you'd still enjoy it to the fullest extent as long as you're paying attention, and the mellow mood does work to gently close the record. So I can't say the lack of hooks alone is enough to detract from the full score; you'd just need to put extra work and change how you were listening to fully appreciate it.

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Wed Sep 20 2023
5

Nice sound on the reworked album. Original not so good. Sixties sound to a lot of the tracks but has Andy's stamp all over them.

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Wed Nov 08 2023
5

i fell in love with this album well over a decade ago when i heard "earn enough for us" on the radio. i went out and bought the album immediately. the songwriting is very fun, very beatle-esque at times, and of course, we love a todd rundgren production. to me, the todd production pushes it over the edge and gives it a great energy.

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Thu Nov 09 2023
5

This is one of my favorite albums. I listen to it often. Todd Rundgren was the man producing this. Its perfect. Not a bad second on the whole album. Andy gobbled up all The Beatles albums, digested them and gave us the Skylarking masterpiece.

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Thu Nov 23 2023
5

I really liked it again! I will probably also listen to some of these songs again

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Thu Dec 07 2023
5

I was not expecting to be blown away by this, and yet the flow, the poetic lyrics, it all works. The rerelease which adds “Dear God” as the final track only improves it.

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Sun Dec 10 2023
5

Every song added to the playlist. Was about to write a long review singing its praises and then the last song dear god came on and I was like oh it’s that fuckass animatic song! It blindsided me! But it is still a good song. Need to listen to the rest now…

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Wed Jan 17 2024
5

Brilliant. Absolutely loved this. First XTC album heard all way through. Kept thinking of the Beatles.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

I remember liking them in the 80s. I even bought on of their cds. Not this one though. They weren’t typical of my music collection. I went for edgier. They seemed more cheesy. Listening now I heard their musicality. Somewhat beatle-esque. It was like listening to an old friend.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

Have Always Loved XTC!! This album was new to me Dear God is an EPIC CLASSIC!! Loved it so very much. They have other albums I appreciate more than this one but it was nice to hear things I had not heard before, so good all the way around!

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

Not my favorite album of theirs but I’ve always loved XTC… Dear God is Epic!!

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Sun Jan 28 2024
5

I have a couple of XTC songs in my Liked playlist (and thought they were in my Wrapped too but they were not, which surprised me). I enjoyed the album and will listen to more of their stuff.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Surprisingly catchy album. I had never hear of it even though I was somewhat familiar of XTC as a band.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

Gran pop psicodelico, influenciado por los beatles con un concepto orquestal y arreglos exquisitos de cuerdas y otros instrumentos. Gran trabajo del productor Todd

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Thu Feb 08 2024
5

I love albums that have a strong, relaxing vibe. I read online this is a concept albums about the stages of life told through the movement of the seasons. This is clear in the music. The first songs like "Grass" feel like summer. Then there are songs about rain, they're a little more melancholy as the album moves into autumn. I love the sound of this album and it makes me happy that I endeavored to listen to all 1001 albums.

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Mon Feb 12 2024
5

For years only had "Nonsuch" on tape.. solid album, I liked it at the time of release, but it is overkill and not the best starting point. Drums and Wires, Black Sea, English Settlement, Skylarking are all clear 5-star albums for different reasons. Skylarking is full of great pop songs, one of these albums with songs that require several listens and then becomes very addictive, as it is so melodic and works on different levels. score: 10/10. side note: "Dear God" is no fit with the other songs and makes the album worse overall. As it was only added to the album later on, I excluded it.

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Thu Feb 22 2024
5

Reminds me of They Might Be Giants a little bit. Very coo! This one was very playful in its sound. It creates this fun and happy tone throughout. Very cool &0s pop record!

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Thu Mar 28 2024
5

This was a really wonderful album and had me entertained and engaged almost the entire album, there was only one song near the end that I didn't think was as good as the rest. Inventive lyrics and music throughout and I just enjoyed the style all around. While I had heard of this band, I never really gave them their due because the name kind of put me off. Big mistake. I really wish I had grown up with this band.

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Thu Apr 18 2024
5

I love this album so much I literally found it last week when looking for psychedelic pop and now it’s here! It feels like it’s made for me

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Fri May 10 2024
5

A magnum opus life cycle concept album with no stinkers.

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Mon May 20 2024
5

It was good. I have heard all of the songs a lot.

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Tue May 21 2024
5

A classic. XTC is their own thing and worth the listen.

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Sat Dec 19 2020
4

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.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
4

leuk maar beetje ouwe lullen muziek

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Fri May 28 2021
4

Super good. Never really listened to them much before.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
4

This was way ahead of its time

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