Song of the Day, March 13: Dear God by XTC

XTCDearGodToday’s song is an afterthought that paid off. Andy Partridge wrote Dear God during the sessions for the band’s masterpiece, Skylarking. It was not included on the album, but showed up as the B-side to the single Grass. DJs flipped the record over and gave Dear God enough airplay that the band’s US label, Geffen, decided to slot it into the American release of the disc, replacing the charming but lightweight Mermaid Smiled.

Darkly cynical and powerfully reflective, the track fits in with the latter part of the album’s meditations on mortality. Producer Todd Rundgren recruited the daughter of a friend, eight-year-old Jasmine Veillette, to sing the first verse and closing line. (A young British boy is used in the video, lip-synching.) The use of a child’s voice to introduce the deeply skeptical lyric is brilliant, making the Partridge’s energetic delivery even more resonant. The song questions the intentions of a supposedly benevolent supreme being that allows “The wars you bring, the babes you drown, those lost at sea and never found” and other suffering. Partridge concludes with the observation that “God’s words” are created by man as an explanation and an excuse. Cleverly crafted, nicely structured, and powerfully sung, it’s a standout in XTC’s long career.

Enjoy this potent song today.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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