Song of the Day, June 23: Making Plans for Nigel by XTC

XTCNigelToday’s song is a standout track from XTC’s wonderful 1979 album Drums and Wires. “Wires” refers to guitars, with the title indicating the change in sound that resulted from the departure of keyboard player Barry Andrews. On this third disc, the band really stretch, moving from their punky dance rock to more complex New Wave sounds while maintaining their distinctive edginess. The songwriting is stronger as well, with more topical songs and deeper reflections.

Colin Moulding wrote Making Plans for Nigel, one of the group’s finest early songs. It’s a scathing indictment of shallow middle-class values. Terry Chambers’ drum work is astounding, propelling the song with an angry, martial beat as Moulding’s bass thrums with menace. Andy Partridge is in fine voice, making the most of the lyrics as he simmers with barely controlled disdain. Newcomer Dave Gregory’s guitar ties the whole package together neatly.

An incisive bit of social commentary that you can dance to, it’s one of the best singles of its era. Enjoy this great 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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