Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday 80s Flashback for October 23, 2015

[Oranges & Lemons Reissue] -- XTC's 11th studio album, Oranges & Lemons, was originally released in February of 1989. This month, it's getting reissued as a CD+Blu-ray deluxe edition with plenty of extras. One of those extras is that prog rock legend, Steven Wilson, has remixed the album for stereo and 5.1 surround sound from the original analog tapes!

The original release was available as a either a double LP or a 16-track CD. Of the three singles ("The Mayor of Simpleton", "King for a Day", and "The Loving"), only the first two charted well. "The Mayor of Simpleton," which hit the charts in January 1989, performed extremely well. It peaked at #46 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, it hit #72 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts, making it XTC's best-charting single in the States. The album was also a commercial success, scoring the #1 position on the US college / alternative album chart and #44 on the US Billboard Top 200 chart. In the UK, it peaked at #28 on the UK album chart.

Oh, and though they weren't released as singles, "Hold Me My Daddy" and "Merely a Man" (with lyrics that include "We're all Jesus, Buddha and the Wizard of Oz") hold a special place in my heart.

The availability of the reissue seems to range from last Friday, October 16, to today, October 23. Some stores still list it as a pre-order item. And it is currently out of stock on Amazon. Anyway, while you're waiting for your deluxe reissue, you can stream the original version of the full album on YouTube here: Or, if you just want to check out the singles from Oranges & Lemons, then read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"Well I don't know how many pounds make up a ton, | Of all the Nobel prizes that I've never won."

Our first Flashback of the day is Oranges & Lemons' first single, "The Mayor of Simpleton." I already mentioned the song's chart success, so now I'll just say that I dig the Avengers-inspired video for the song! (Note: It's the Steed & Peel Avengers from the UK; not the team from Marvel Comics). 

Flashback #2"The loudest mouth will hail the new-found way | To be king for a day."

"King for a Day" hit the charts in April of 1989. Expectations were high after the success of "The Mayor of Simpleton." And "King for a Day" cracked the top 40 of two charts: #38 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks, and #11 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks. Critics have not always been kind to this track, but I think it is an unheralded piece of pop mastery. Colin Moulding gets a rare opportunity to showcase his vocal prowess, and (in my estimation) he does not disappoint. And the sweet lilt to his voice is an interesting counterpoint to the somewhat scathing lyrics about people driven by a lust for money and a desire to get ahead at all costs. 

Flashback #3"All around the world, | Every boy and every girl, | Need the loving."

Considering our final Flashback's subject matter, it's a shame that "The Loving" hasn't fared better. I mean, it's not quite "All You Need Is Love," but its lyrics also convey a universal message about the power of love and our need for it. When it was released in August of 1989, however, "The Loving" had to go up against the likes of Prince's "Batdance (From Batman)" and "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx which ruled the charts that month.

I think "The Loving" is better than either of those tunes, but the record-buying public did not agree. Obviously. Let me know what you think. 

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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