Reason #473 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: Skylarking

This album is so much more than the song Dear God. As a matter of fact adding the song was a bit of an afterthought. Actually, I don’t think it appeared on the original album at first. Anyway, it fits, and it fits really well. This is a ‘concept’ album about life cycles, and while it may not be the best XTC album it is by far my favorite, the one I go to again and again (along with Drums and Wires, another fantastic album). It is well documented that producer Todd Rundgren and XTC de facto leader Andy Partridge didn’t get along, but I’m glad they decided to fight through it with Todd, ’cause the album reeks of his Beatles infatuation, which is definitely no bad thing. There’s a pop sheen that’s quite understated and that separates it from the regular ’80 master board over indulgences that permeate most of the decade. Songs like Summer’s Cauldron, the great double entendre that is Grass, Ballet For A Rainy Day, the carnival sound of Season Cycle and, of course, Dear God. It’s one of the top 25 albums of the decade, period.