Nathan (vovat) wrote,
Nathan
vovat

When You Wish Upon a Wasp Star

Well, I might as well finish up my song-by-song reviews of XTC albums, since I only have one more to go anyway. And that one is, of course, Apple Venus Volume 2, better known as Wasp Star. While the first Apple Venus was full of light, pastoral music, its counterpart was planned as a rock album. It's not exactly a return to the sound of White Music or Black Sea, though, but more of a soft-rock kind of thing. I hesitate to use that term, because radio stations tend to use "soft rock" as a synonym for "what you hear in the waiting room at the dentist's office," and this album definitely has more energy to it than that. I'm just trying to say that it's electric rock, but not super-noisy or anything.


Playground - This is a great beginning track, and there are times I can't help feeling that Andy Partridge is correct that "you may leave school, but it never leaves you." There's a special appearance by Andy's daughter Holly (who, from what I understand, now has her own band) singing the "careful what you say ground" part.

Stupidly Happy - This song is fun, but I think it's rather overrated by the band. There are a lot of songs on here that I think would have been better suited for singles.

In Another Life - While Andy has switched over to rock mode for this record, Colin Moulding is still concentrating on light music. This is my favorite of his contributions to this album. I find it quite sweet, in a realistic, we've-been-together-for-a-long-time kind of way.

My Brown Guitar - This song is classic Andy, full of playful sexual metaphors and fun with words and grammatical structure.

Boarded Up - Colin's second offering to the album isn't so great, but I do kind of like the empty, forlorn sound to it. By the way, does anyone know what it is that Colin whispers around the 1:55 mark?

I'm the Man Who Murdered Love - A very upbeat song about a mercy killing of the spirit of love, because he feels he isn't doing any good anymore. It's an interesting concept, and an enjoyable song. And I can't help but love the meta-reference of "It's the middle of the song!"

We're All Light - One of my favorite songs on this album. Andy has said that he views the lyrics as essentially being bad pick-up lines, but that's not to say there's no depth to the song.

Standing in for Joe - This was something that Colin wrote for a proposed bubblegum album. It's not as metaphorically dirty as the contributions of Andy's that I've heard, but that probably means it's a better fit for a regular XTC album. By Colin's own admission, the name Joe comes from Bazooka Joe.

Wounded Horse - bethje has said that this song could be viewed as Joe's reaction to the last song. I'm sure the placement was not coincidental. This is another bitter song about Andy's wife having had an affair, but I like it better than "Your Dictionary." I've pointed out before that Andy mixes up his metaphors by making the narrator the "wounded horse," but also telling him to "climb back in the saddle." So is he the horse or the rider? "Shake You Donkey Up" has similar confusion in its lyrics.

You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful - I guess this is sort of an apology for the last song, with Andy telling his ex-wife that he still thinks she's pretty. I'm not sure he was really putting his heart into the idea, but I do like the song, especially the line "every Troy with wooden horse I take to peaceful waters but can't make him drown." No matter what the weather, Andy will still have skill in playing with metaphors. {g}

Church of Women - I've always liked this song pretty well, but I can't help remembering a criticism of it that I read once that basically stated that saying women are good at raising children isn't really much of a feminist statement. Not to mention that it's a little weird for Andy to follow up a few songs about the woman who cheated on him with one that praises the entire gender.

The Wheel and the Maypole - Quite frankly, I love this song. As much as I'd love to see more XTC albums, this isn't such a bad song to end their catalog. It was actually originally two different songs, but they fit together pretty seamlessly.


And that's it for XTC albums. I might decide to do these reviews for another band at some point, but as of right now, I'm rather bored of it.
Tags: albums, xtc
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