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From: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
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Subject: Chalkhills #373


                  Chalkhills, Number 373

                Thursday, 1 September 1994
Today's Topics:
       re melinda and why she doesn't like dear god
              Blur (oh no! it's Blur again!)
                       Re: Dear God
        Re: Why I Don't Like 'Dear God' (Sorry...)
                        Hi there!
                     Dear God / Blur
                          Intro
                      NEW XTC ALBUM?
                   the reqested intro.
        Re: "Books are Burning" (even as we speak)
                       My Intro...
                    No more "Dear God"
                        Goodbye!!
                    "Through the Hill"
                         Hopless
                   the usual (dear god)
              Bike Ride To The Moon and Back
         Re: Twaddle - Meaningless and Otherwise
                    Dear God Kid Vocal
          We have found the enemy, and he is us

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From: PB3BOY@aol.com
Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 23:41:22 EDT
Subject: re melinda and why she doesn't like dear god

Melinda:

So what you're saying is one of the reasons you dislike the tune "Dear God"
is because it became popular.  Really??? Please keep in mind that this is
being written only moments after reading your rather puzzling
comment....but...that's seems rather ridiculous at best and short-sighted at
worst.  Your not liking a song based on the level of acceptance by the mass
public makes no sense at all.  Perhaps you heard it too much or saw the video
too often, if so, learn when to turn off the tubes (ok, I know most radios
are tubeles now).  Dear God is certainly not my fave XTC tune, but it
deserves more than to be dismissed for being popular.  At least the fab three
actually mad a little money off that one.

Let's all not be so caught up in being hip and cool and having our own little
unknown piece of rock cool hip-dom that we deny the atrtists we love an
opportunity to make a living with their work by pronouncing it "not cool"
once accepted by a larger audience.  Wouldn't you rather prefer to tell them,
"I told you so", or, " Hey, if you liked "Dear God" check out some of these
other songs" (preferably something from The Big Express, by far their best
work).  And by the way, if you like The Big Express, check out Tampa
Florida's CLANG!.  A truly amazing pop quartet.

Regards,
Brian  Swanson

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From: adkoning@hvsag01.att.com (Andre A M De Koning +31 35 87 4927)
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 10:56:30 +0200
Subject: Blur (oh no! it's Blur again!)

Hi All

Maybe someone should start a Blur list (or is there one already?),
Chalkhills isn't the place to keep discussing Blur. Now, here I am, and
I'll add a little bit more Blur. My eyes fell on a few quotes in an
interview with Blur in the latest edition of the dutch magazine 'OOR'
(interview by Pieter van Adrichem). I'll try to keep it as short as
possible.

Warning: the things that are said are translated from English to Dutch
and now I've translated everything back to English again. Subtleties are
lost, but I hope the it's understandable. Also, I have not asked for the
right to blah bla blah.

[in an Amsterdam club] "A bunch of British guys next to us regularly
bursts into loud laughs and in the meantime consumes incredible amounts
of beer. Damon [Albarn, the singer] bends towards me and whispers: 'A
group of accountants, out for a weekend. A while ago they were looking
who gets bold the fastest'. And then with a smile: 'Precisely the ones I
had in mind with _Girls And Boys_. The song is about British tourists
that try to pick up girls in Greek nightclubs. The sort of sexual
behaviour where there's no moral. Not that I want to condemn it, because
I find it actually very interesting. But the line `always should be
someone you really love' is certainly meant to be ironic.'"

"The single _There's No Other Way_ was the British breakthrough in April
1991, but the album _Leisure_ was not as succesful. Not only because it
was not as good as the singles, but also because Manchester was walking
so much on it's last legs that Blur as a trendfollower was hardly taken
seriously. When Seattle took over the banner from Manchester at the end
of 1991, Blur suddenly was nowhere anymore. In the period that followed
they went through a slump, with a single that flopped and a failing
recording session with XTC-leader Andy Partridge. Damon: 'The curious
thing was that Food [their record company] was very enthousiastic about
that material, while we didn't approve of it at all. We had to tussle
for months before we got permission to go into the studio again. But
with the note that we did not have to count on any sympathy if things
went wrong.' When _Modern Life Is Rubbish_ was finished Food was not
enthousiastic: they thought it was to British, that Blur was completely
off the target. The relation is badly cooled down. 'Officially we are
still on Food but in fact all business is done by Parlophone.'"

Although I see a lot of parallels between Blur and XTC ('too British', a
bad relation with record company, no luck with producer, the title
_Leisure_), let's get back to (hopefully) some real XTC content (like
the announcement for the new album? yes?)....

    ,
Andre

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From: J Ross MacKay <ross@drumz.grdl.noaa.gov>
Subject:  Re: Dear God
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 7:23:26 EDT

> see them fighting in the street 'cause they can't make opinions meet
> about God
Thank you, John.

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 08:40:54 -0500 (CDT)
From: Doug Finney <SINSFDWF@Admin.UH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Why I Don't Like 'Dear God' (Sorry...)

<MELINDA@delphi.com> writes:

>"Dear God" has always rubbed me the wrong way for 2 connected reasons:
>
>(1) [...]
>Not only that, but it doesn't make any sense.  If the singer *doesn't*
>believe in God, why the spitting anger?  Why address God at all?  Yeah,
>I know, "you're always letting us humans down", right?  Well, that's a
>different idea altogether, theologically speaking, than "If there's one
>thing I don't believe in, it's you."

To me, the singer *wants* to believe in God but *can't*. Saying he doesn't
is just a reflection of his anger and frustration. It's the old "if you
really exist give me a sign" plea, but of course God doesn't exist so no
sign is received. :)

>(2) Because I think it's not one of XTC's better songs, it irks me that
>it's one of their most popular, and one that finally got XTC some
>airplay and notoriety.  I tried to get people to listen for years, and
>what finally gets people to take notice is a "gimmick" song.

My opinion of the song is higher than yours but I agree with this. In
a similar vein, that whole "one hit wonder" thing really bugs me. Any
time a band is judged solely on the basis of one song they're being done
a great disservice. Not that there aren't bands that really only click on
one song and just kind of putter around for the rest of the album (Smash
Palace and School of Fish come to mind...)

>> And this beating just continues the rest of your
>> life and all the way through "Dying".

>This part I can't agree with, because when I first bought _Skylarking_,
>it didn't even *have* "Dear God" on it, so the idea of "DG" leading into
>"Dying" seems arbitrary to me.

I don't like this particular effect but that's mainly because while creating
one of my many theme-tapes (Religion) I had a hell of a time getting a
decent sounding cut or fade on my ancient tape deck at the end of the song.
:)

Doug

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 09:25:56 +0200
Subject: Hi there!
From: Giuliano_Maciocci_Jr@mango.apc.org

Hi!!

Let me introduce myself:

I'm Giuliano Maciocci Jr, currently writing from the far away land of
Zimbabwe, Africa. I just joined this list out of curiosity about XTC. I'll
probably be lurking for a while, since I don't know much about the group (XTC
records seem to be unavailiable here, so if someone knows a way I could order
a tape/CD cheaply from overseas, let me know ;-) but I'm interested in knowing
more about XTC... Thanks for the patience... 'Till the next post! :-)

TTYL............Raver

[[[[  Giuliano Maciocci Jr -*- Maciocci2@Mango.apc.org -*- 5:7211/1.78  ]]]]

CP 2.00 [GM]  Your lucky number has been discontinued.
--- GoldED 2.40
 * Origin: <-Flames 'R' Us-> (MANGO 5:7211/1.78)

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 9:26:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: DON SHARE <MCA_DSS@flo.org>
Subject: Dear God / Blur

Anybody else notice that, in the 'Dear God' video, the boy sings
>from up in a tree, and that this appears to be an allusion to
the film, "The Singing Detective?"

Enough about Blur already ;-) , dear God!

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 18:58:33  GMT+10
Organization: Twister II - Sydney, Australia. +612-30-3513
From: Jon.flynn@twister.apana.org.au (Jon Flynn)
Subject: Intro

Hello to all, I'm new to this area. My XTC interest began when they came
to Australia after Drums and Wires, and I saw them lip-sync "Life Begins
at the Hop" on Countdown, the (now defunct) Australian equivalent of Top
of the Pops. I've followed them through every album since then, including
Nonsuch (still to catch up with  early ones, but it will come). I've also
just finished reading the book about them, which painted their career as
a struggle, marked by huge disappointments and disillusionments.
But the artistic success that has come from that struggle is so great, I
can't say I feel sorry for them.

I am what we used to call a vinyl junkie (in the pre-CD days). I like to
delve into the great pop music of the past as well as the present. I
really got into music seriously soon after XTC began, so that pioneering
post-punk philosophy has kind of shaped my tastes. But I'm also especially
keen on the music of the 60's - Beatles, Byrds, Small Faces, Monkees, etc.
etc., and I  really appreciate XTC's 60's influences, as well as the
modernist approach they have.

I heard about this Mailing list on alt.music.alternative, a newsgroup
which I comb through but rarely participate in because it seems to be too
dominated by American tastes. Americans invented rock and roll, but poms
perfected it imo.

Jonathan Flynn, Sydney, Australia
Postal Address: P.O. Box 501 Newtown, 2042, AUSTRALIA
Internet: jon.flynn@twister.apana.org.au

-- Via Xenolink 1.90

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From: nilsson@etek.chalmers.se
Subject: NEW XTC ALBUM?
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 19:31:46 -0000

Right.

I've been away from Chalkhills for a year, so please forgive me if I am
recycling old news. I read a summary of upcoming album releases in the
morning paper the other week, and to my great astonishment a new album
by XTC (no title given) was listed for release in November. Can anybody
confirm and/or provide additional info on this?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Par Nilsson * nilsson@etek.chalmers.se
    "The future's no problem / We don't care / 'Cause wherever we're
           going / We'll soon get there." - Terry Adams, NRBQ
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

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From: LordShafer@aol.com
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 94 18:50:14 EDT
Subject: the reqested intro.

'ello all, my name is Andy.  I've been an xtc fan since I was given Drums and
Wires as bribery from my sitters beau.
I quess Black Sea is my favorite release with Mummer as a close second.
 Also, Big Express doesn't suck!  I'd say the closest they came to sucking
was Oranges and Lemons.

I'll add my 2 cents to the Blur topic.  I HATE that "Boys and Girls, and/or
anything that moves" song.  I heard it one night on the radio before
retiring,  and it croped up in a nightmare involving surgeon general elders.
.                                             Abeo,
                                                  andy

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 22:06:18 -0800
From: pinknoiz@well.sf.ca.us (Bob Gonsalves)
Subject: Re: "Books are Burning" (even as we speak)

Ashley Powell sez:

>I think the song was probably inspired by the whole Salman Rushdie
>affair with "Satanic Verses".  Many people remember what Hitler did
>with books.  If one takes the view - as this song suggests - that nothing
>has changed in 50 years, then I would argue that it is neither pointless
>nor possible to overstate such a fundamental human right as free speech.

That's pretty much what Andy said on MTV 120 Minutes - the sight of these
fundamentalists (he said Muslims, but other faiths are just as susceptible)
burning books in the streets.

On top of that, our boys have had their own experience with repression of
expression, with 'Dear God' being banned on some radio stations in the US
South.

Myself, I would have liked to hear the guitar-lick-trading at the end of
BaB go on for another couple of minutes (which is probably what happened in
the studio, eh?)

(My self-intro will be forthcoming, promise...)

Bob Gonsalves, Pink Noise Studios

FTP: ftp.netcom.com:/pub/pinknoiz
WWW: ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/pinknoiz/www/intro.html

sporadically: pinknoise@igc.apc.org

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 22:29:18 -0800
From: pinknoiz@well.sf.ca.us (Bob Gonsalves)
Subject: My Intro...

Having seen a few issues, I figured it's time for my intro.

I remember that my first XTC epxerience was Drums and Wires, listening to
it late at night with my chums as we toiled away in our basement
laboratory, constructing computers and weird electronic music instruments.
My interest went into hiatus for a while, then picked up with a vengence
when I heard It's Nearly Africa on one of the WOMAD albums. Since then I've
purchased everything that is readily available and have never been
disappointed with any of it.

I've been performing avant-garde music for several decades now - I guess
I'm one of the older farts here, at 41+. In the late 70's I was involved in
the 'new wave' scene in the San Francisco. Now it's all samplers,
multi-media, political performances.
XTC's ways with odd chords, syncopation, lyrical flights of fancy amuse me
to no end. And it doesn't hurt that I agree with their socio/political
viewpoint - President Kill Again on my answering machine during the great
Gulf War.

I've met Todd 'skylarking' Rundgren at parties, other events. My
impression, substantiated by other musicians who've worked with him, is
that he is altogether much too full of himself. Anybody who calls himself
'the inventor of interactive music' has got to have one hell of an ego,
right?

The one time I met Andy was at Tower Records in San Francisco for the
Nonsvch release - fun passing articles back and forth between fans, humming
the tunes in unison as they played over the store sound system and we
snaked our way towards our goal.

Does anyone remember an early punk film ("DOA"?) where they performed
Respectable Street? Would love to see that again (among other things). Not
much at my end for trading, just the MTV stuff somewhere on vtape - 120
Minutes and there's an acoustic version of Scarecrow People.

Bob Gonsalves, Pink Noise Studios

FTP: ftp.netcom.com:/pub/pinknoiz
WWW: ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/pinknoiz/www/intro.html

sporadically: pinknoise@igc.apc.org

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Date: Tue, 30 Aug 1994 23:44:58 -0700 (PDT)
From: Todd Wells <t-top@connected.com>
Subject: No more "Dear God"

CH> see them fighting in the street 'cause they can't make opinions
CH> meet about God

Hahaha!  Bravo -- the most perfect quote I've seen at the end of Chalkhills.

Please, can we stop the "Dear God" discussion, just for now??  It's
really getting old.

Thanks much,

--Todd

"Like some commissioner who has ideas for every station"

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Date: Wed, 31 Aug 94 16:01:38 BST
From: C.Wright@sheffield.ac.uk (Chris Wright)
Subject: Goodbye!!

Well, my visit was very short, because I discovered Chalkhills about a
week before I left my job and my net access!

Still, it's been fun, so keep talking and worshipping and, who knows, I
might pop up again in the future.

Cheers,

        Chris Wright,
                        Comedian, juggler, mathematician and soon-to-
                                                be-teacher.

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Date: Mon, 29 Aug 94 12:24:12 MDT
From: pmartz@dsd.es.com (Paul Martz)
Subject: "Through the Hill"

Wesley Wilson <Wesley_Wilson@iegate.mitre.org> says:
> I just can't understand why Andy, a craftsman of such
> great pop songs, decided to do this record.  It's just totally out of
> character, IMO.

Wouldn't you think someone of Andy's caliber is capable of more than
just writing pop songs? And wouldn't you expect him to pursue those
other interests. As John Lydon once said in an interview (paraphrase):
"I get so angry when PIL does a show and the audience keeps yelling
for old Sex Pistols songs. I just want to say to them 'hey, I do
different stuff now, I've moved on with my life, I've grown'." Maybe
"Through the Hill" is Andy's experimentation in musical growth.

Anyhow, I hear Andy's pop genius influence all over this CD, but it
doesn't come in the form of a song, rather a riff or a "situation".

> Besides, I went through my "Windham Hill" phase 7 years ago.
> It lasted about a week. :-)

Ack. You're comparing this CD to Windham Hill?!? You need to have a
second listen! :-) If I was to classify "Through the Hill", I'd have
to call it "avant-garde pop ambient". Windham (Wyndham?) Hill is just
schlock.

   -paul                        "Eno is the one, Eno's the one to take
    pmartz@dsd.es.com            One hundred percent for your stomach's sake...
    Evans & Sutherland           Bubbly bubbly Eno!"

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Date: Thu, 1 Sep 1994 14:34:23 +1200
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: Hopless

Can anyone tell me why the CD release of Drums and Wires (or my copy, at
least) doesn't contain the wonderfully bouncy Life Begins at the Hop? I
know damn well it was on the LP release, but t'aint on the CD. Why?

James
.....................Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ

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Date: Thu, 01 Sep 1994 01:37:08 -0500 (EST)
From: Brookes McKenzie <RMCKENZI@smith.smith.edu>
Subject: the usual (dear god)

but first a bit about blur:

the title of "boys & girls" confused me because i kept thinking it might be
the same as the theme song to _the state_ on mtv (which may or may not
even be saying "boys and girls" - it's hard to tell), which i sort of like
in a it-grows-on-you way, so when i happened to be in nobody beats the wiz
today i listened to the first two tracks on the blur cd in the little
listening station they had. and whoever said depeche mode is right on -
it had the exact same thing that turns me off of such disparate groups/artists
as the cure, the smiths, new order, billy bragg and john wesley harding -
a ridiculously exaggerated in order to sound as pretentious as possible
british accent. i am not an expert on accents so i'm not sure if one
automatically retains one's accent when singing and therefore all the
great british bands (beatles, stones, pink floyd [who i'm listening to
right now], and of course xtc) who _didn't_ have strong accents when
singing were trying to sound american and so that explains it, but
at any rate i found blur not worth the uproar. and it sounded nothing
like disco - maybe what the manchester set thinks disco sounded like.

and a random note about trip shakespeare:

now i also have had the experience of buying cds near-blindly on the
recommendations of chalkhillians, which overall i defend since some
of them i've really liked a lot (jellyfish), and also i think it is
necessarily a _very_ hit-or-miss deal as obviously a lot of wildly
variant tastes happen to overlap on the subject of xtc. however,
in my opinion trip shakespeare SUCKS. i think the lead singer's
voice is positively awful. and they even had a double recommendation
>from matthew sweet (backup vocals on _earth_). *sigh*. oh well.

now, about "dear god":

   - granted, the idea of using the little girl's voice is extremely
cheesy. however i don't think her actual voice is that bad, in fact
i think it's sort of pleasant, and the transition from her voice to
andy's is somehow gratifying in an odd way that i can't really explain.

   - also granted, the lyrics are trite and overly simplistic. the only
thing i like about them is the very fact that the speaker contradicts
himself furiously throughout - that his passionate rejection of god
seems to imply that he _wants_ to believe so much that he can't
just accept what he's told, but there is nothing god can do to make
him believe. and andy sings it so powerfully, even if it doesn't
express all of what he really thinks on the subject, it comes close
enough _somewhere_ to drag that much feeling out of *him*. and i
think it redeems itself musically.

   - which is more than i can say for its erstwhile predecessor on
_skylarking_, "mermaid smiled". i was listening to _rag & bone buffet_
yesterday and was struck by how downright *bad* that song is. the
lyrics are the cheesiest ever produced by andy (with the minor
exception of "disque bleu", which he acknowledges as the soppiest)
and the music is totally ridiculous arpeggios that sound like they
should be coming from a harp. the only thing that's at all worthwhile
about it is its position on _rag & bone_ - after the last strum of
"mermaid smiles", the colonel comes in with the hysterical strains of
"too many cooks in the kitchen", which sounds even funnier after the
saccharine nostalgia that preceded it. anyway, my point here was that
"dear god" is definitely flawed (and i agree with whoever said that the
worst thing about it is the way that it's the only song that people
know xtc by), but it is *so* far superior to "mermaid smiled" that
there's really no comparison. materialistic motives notwithstanding.

        - brookes

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Subject: Bike Ride To The Moon and Back
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 1994 13:12:27 CDT
From: John A Lane <jal@iastate.edu>

XTC- you've come a long way, baby.
My very first introduction to XTC happened in the weirdest way, when I was a
wee lil' teenager. I happened to be browsing in a record store (in the days
when they actually sold records- those big black discs), and over the store
PA, I hear the oddest sounds kick in. It's 25 O'Clock, folks, and time to
get those senses working overtime. I bought the record, and I've been hooked
since. It took a little while to convert my brother; the first time he heard
Skylarking, he thought it was crap, but I convinced him that it was the
Sgt.Pepper's of the 80s, and he's been convinced ever since.
As for my feelings on XTC now: I believe they've entered a Let-It-Be phase
(sorry for yet another Beatle comparison). The radio tour was significant
only to the small legion of fans who knew that the radio tour existed in the
first place- pity. Wouldn't it be nice if they released this stuff?
Hopefully, XTC will "get back" to their roots. I thought Paul Fox's work on
O&L was atrocious, like XTC on Broadway. Fortunately, Nonsuch seems a little
closer to the Fab Three's style. I particularly like "War Dance". Seems like
Moulding is actually writing the best stuff in the band these days.
Well, I'll ruminate some more later. Any reaction?
By the way- how can I get my hands on that XTC bio book?

Train Running Low on Soul Coal, and so I must go...

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Date: Thu, 1 Sep 94 11:55:48 PDT
From: John Relph <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Re: Twaddle - Meaningless and Otherwise

Ashley@apowell.demon.co.uk (Ashley Powell) writes:

>I once saw a CD single of "Wrapped in Grey", and as it was hugely
>overpriced at four and a half quid I didn't buy it (fool!).  Does anyone
>know where I can get a copy, as I believe it had more 'previously
>unreleased' songs on it?

Here's the entry from the discography:

Wrapped In Grey
       Wrapped In Grey; Bungalow (Demo); Bungalow; Rip Van Ruben
       (Demo).
       + CD-5, Virgin UK, VSCDT 1426 (7243 8 90015 2 5) (665 516), 12?
         October 1992. originally to have been released on 7 September
         1992. withdrawn, 450 of 500 copies destroyed.

Um, it's intensely rare.  Anybody else seen it?  If you want it, keep
looking.  Check those collectors' magazines.  And it will be even more
expensive now.

jlamy@sweat.ess.harris.com (Joe Lamy) writes:

>Check out the new Adrian Belew CD, "Here". It's great...

Agreed.

etlcnkl@deep-thought.ericsson.se (Colin Kidgell) asks:

>What is the record 'Though the Hill' / Budd, Partridge !? Is this a recent
>recording ?

Yes, an ambient collaborative effort.

        -- John

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Subject: Dear God Kid Vocal
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 1994 12:59:17 -0600
From: Marshall V Pierce <piercem@cs.itc.hp.com>

Enough about what having a kid sing part of Dear God does - does anyone know
if the voice was really a kid's (and, if so, who and whose) or if it was A,C,
or D voice speeded up?

=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=
Marshall V Pierce
piercem@cs.itc.hp.com

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Subject: We have found the enemy, and he is us
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 1994 16:41:21 CDT
From: John A Lane <jal@iastate.edu>

Singling Out XTC*
Perhaps one of the biggest problems that XTC has encountered since they
stopped touring years ago is their judgement, specifically when it relates
to releasing viable singles. When it comes to gauging a commercial market,
XTC are their own worst enemies. To wit: Skylarking fronted "Dear God", only
after the song bubbled to the surface 'cuz of those naughty lyrics about a
God that he doesn't believe in yet addresses nonetheless. Let's face it: the
real potential single should have been "Earn Enough for Us"- clever lyrics,
strident guitar and drums, and an all-around foot-tapper. (The b-side could
have been "Dying", but you get the point.)  When it came to O&L, they
actually made a pretty decent choice with "Mayor"- but still the words are
kind of stupid & silly, not reflective of how deep they really are as a
band. Good guitar hook though. "Cynical Days" should have been pushed, but
live & learn. As for Nonsuch, "Pumpkinhead" was just the son of Simpleton.
Too much gristle on that tune. "The Disappointed" should've been pushed
instead, to prove how damned great they are. Hopefully, our boys will get it
right soon (before they break up).

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And my heart beats faster when I think of all the signs.

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