College Station Gem
Shannon Freeman | Tennessee | 02/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"XTC had already acquired a cult following with previous albums, including "English Settlement" and the much acclaimed "Skylarking". However, "Oranges and Lemons" was my introduction to the group, with the college radio station playing it liberally during the late spring/early summer of 1989. I was entranced from the moment I heard them.
Part of my birthday money was spent to purchase the TAPE of this album, which spoke volumes of its importance. The record does not disappoint. From the far Eastern come hither of the opening track ( "Garden of Earthly Delights) to the swing-sway of the final song ( "Chalkhills and Children") the listener is treated to a variety of thoughts, moods, and musical expressions.
Among the best are " Mayor of Simpleton" a genius craft of pure pop enjoyment. The lyrics are so freshly arranged, it's just a fun, yet sharp song. " The Loving" has a great message, one that was, and will forever be, relevant. "Skeleton Steps Out" will put a bounce in your step, even though the lyrics make one question how deceptive the melody may be. "Across this Antheap" pokes a hole directly through societal facades.... "Still segregating cause we insects are too proud...." Definetely a call-out, but a fun one!
Anyone who enjoys pop-art rock should make this a part of their collection. I loved it at 14, I still love it today..... therefore, in my mind, it holds up."
Todd7 | Michigan | 08/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It took 11 years for people to finally learn who XTC was, and 1989's ORANGES AND LEMONS provided a very mainstream Beatles/Beach Boys sound with a little bit of Tears For Fears similarities on track 2 (King for a Day). I don't know if the band was feeling the pressure to sell more albums, or the record company proposed a more radio-friendly mainstream sound to generate more sales, but whatever the case, this release was absolutely NOTHING like the previous offering, SKYLARKING. Up until 1989, XTC was in obscurity for the most part, due to them being slightly out of sync with what was going on in music at any given time, coupled with their lack of touring as a result of Andy Partridge's stagefright that strated in 1982. It's a shame, because they are extremely talented, yet not too many people know who they are. That changed slightly with ORANGES AND LEMONS, a sort of breakthrough release that appealed to a younger crowd. Two rock-solid singles were released, "The Mayor of Simpleton", and "King for a Day", which got good airplay. This album is very upbeat and bubblegum. Even the cover suggests that it's something a little simpler than previous albums, and Beatlesque. However, there are a lot of jazz lines featured in songs, and it gives the album a little more texture. Standout tracks include The Mayor of Simpleton, King for a Day, Here Comes President Kill Again, Garden of Earthly Delights, Poor Skeleton Steps Out, Scarecrow People, and Chalkhills and Children. This album is a must-have for any fan, but probably not where you want to start your collection. Instead, start with DRUMS AND WIRES, ENGLISH SETTLEMENT or BLACK SEA."