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February 1, 2003

Apple Venus (Volume One) - XTC

I don't know how to review music, so bear with me, here.

I don't care for music. This is strange in someone like myself, who thinks in music. I can usually tell someone I know from their voice far before I recognize their face or name. (This always amuses the kids when comparing voice actors from various cartoons.) I'm just not into music. On the other hand, I end up getting really opinionated about it at times.

Just ask my girlfriend. On second thought, don't. I'd like to keep some of my reputation intact.

So, XTC. You've probably heard one or two of their songs. You probably haven't seen them in concert. Spinner calls them, the great lost pop band. No, their name isn't in reference to methylenedioxy-n-methylamphetamine. Now you know about as much as I knew about them when I started coveting my ex-boyfriend's Skylarking CD. (He eventually broke down and got me a copy on the cheap. He was such a sweetie.) I own a handful of the albums, including an extra copy (luckily: one seems to have wandered away) of Oranges and Lemons. The whole family knows not to mess with my XTC cds.

I am really hesitant buying new music, but some kind blogging soul whom I cannot remember offered the mp3 of "Green Man" off this album, and I was hooked. I mean, totally. I didn't even agree with the lyrics, but it was fairly addictive. (By the way, record executives: Nyah. I don't know who you're talking to, but I absolutely buy music because I've gotten a free sample.)

So I bought a copy off of Amazon. I always feel so naughty just up and buying something for myself... I mean, I don't mind buying gifts I'll end up sharing (like 4th Edition Talislanta) but something for ME?

I think my husband, in the short time I've had this CD, knows it by heart. Which isn't a bad thing, especially because the songs are so different that you CAN listen to them several times in a row. I happen to have a preferred playlist, of course, skipping over a few that I like a little less, but... there isn't anything on here that I just dislike.

The orchestra makes a difference: it makes it sound more mature. The lyrics are still relating literally to the human condition. (I also buy Seal albums for the same reason. Well, and because I have him confused with the angel Eli from In Nomine, but that's another story altogether.) It's almost always a disappointment to hear where the lyrics come from, because listening to the music gives the brain such an epic view of the meaning. That's why I like music more than, say, poetry, given that each person finds their own meaning. Poetry seems personal, music seems shared.

"See the Greenman blow his kiss from high church wall
And unknowing church will amplify his call..."

Then just two songs later...

"And when I say I can't own her
I don't mean to buy her
It's nothing at all to do with money
I simply want her in my arms forever more.
Is that an odd request?
Is that something so funny?"

Tempered with love lost, levity maintained, and sanity gained by the tending of fruit, this wouldn't be a bad album to start your XTC collection.

Posted by Meera at February 1, 2003 2:05 AM


I love XTC, ever since my brother had English Settlement at home, and made my sister and I listen to it. We knew Senses Working Overtime by heart, and loved Jason and the Argonauts as well as It's Nearly Africa.

I really should get some more of their stuff on CD. I have the XTC tribute album (A Testimonial Dinner) and I think one other.

Posted by: Julia at February 2, 2003 6:29 PM