Song Of The Day 4/21/2014: XTC - "Complicated Game"


You Pick The Artist: Christine Burton gave me XTC, which is highly perceptive of her because the insanely versatile, consummately British, eternally bickering band has always been one of my favorites. XTC are, as many HR workers put it these days, right in my wheelhouse. They had ambitions far beyond Britpop and couldn't be contained within simple categories. Every album sounded different. They played pastoral. They played aggressive. They could turn switches on and off for every project they did. And they gussied themselves up in fake psychedelic costumes and pulled off a two-album joke as the Dukes of Stratosphear. If you wanted to get to know a good chunk of my personal constitution and issues that I've flambéd in my consciousness since adolescence you could listen to Skylarking as I believe they address every one of them, despite Andy Partridge reportedly wanting to take a pick-axe to Todd Rundgren during its production. That's just Andy's way. It's not for novices.

There's a bunch of XTC songs I could cite for the exalted position of my favorite, but I find when I reach for a specific song of theirs to transport me from where I don't want to be, which is usually south King County, I go for "Complicated Game" from Drums and Wires. Because for all their elocution, articulation and abilities to create well-defined structures for their songs, "Complicated Game" is a nerve-pinched, slowly building unveiling of a psychotic person. There is one central idea, repeated over and over, shunted into different settings. Finally Partridge explodes, acknowledging the uselessness in the most basic type of question one could possibly have, and finds an echo chamber that will support him in his theories. It's like the elemental question of Joy Division after being rerouted through a Chevy auto plant where Ian Curtis accidentally swallowed some paint. (And, well, lived... perhaps that was a bad example.) It's fucked up. It speaks to me. Well, it screams, but I speak scream.

Thanks Christine!


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