A Musical A-Z: X

The dreaded ‘X’. Perhaps if I lived in Albania, I might have more choices? I did have a top pick from the start though, and it looked like it might be the only entry. I have left you some popular songs, and a film soundtrack, to comment on. If you can think of them.
Please (try to) play along. Any song, artist, album, or band, as long as there is an ‘X’ in there somewhere.

London Indie trio The xx have been around the scene since the release of their debut album in 2009. They have a big following, and have received a lot of critical acclaim. The throaty vocals of female singer Romy Madely Croft stood out for me when I first heard them, and the group’s unusual sound continues to grow on me.
Crystalised

I wouldn’t usually feature British punk band X-Ray Spex, but I wanted to have at least three songs in this letter. The rather abrasive lead singer Poly Styrene was a matter of taste, to be sure, and the harsh Punk sound may have been popular at the time, but perhaps fails to endure. Despite that, it has some historical merit, especially since that same singer died in 2011, aged just 53. I suppose you had to be there, and to be of a certain age.
World turned dayglo

English band XTC were responsible for some clever and catchy songs during their short burst of fame in the late 1970s. They managed to keep going until 2006, but never had any major chart success after the 1980s. This song is my top pick for today. I always liked it. Very English, and very pertinent too.
Making Plans For Nigel

Just scraped through with ‘X’. Glad to see the back of that letter!

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60 thoughts on “A Musical A-Z: X

  1. The only X I could think of is Xanadu by Olivia Newton John and someone has probably already mentioned that, but I haven’t read all the comments yet. Plus X&Y album by Coldplay with a track of the same name. They also have an album named Mylo Xyloto

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  2. This is a tough one but I’ve got some. The late 80s, early 90s hip hop group X-Clan and their song Tribal Jam. Also, there’s Xscape, the popular female R&B quartet of the 90s. They had 3 straight platinum albums in that decade. Their biggest songs were “Just Kickin’ It” and “Who Can I Run To” although I think their best by far is a song from the Sunset Park soundtrack called, “Keep On Keepin’ On” with MC Lyte.

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  3. Hi Pete, Just stopped by at random to see what you came up with, and Lo, 3 bands I know and like!
    Nigel is the pick of the bunch of course, but the XX have a low-key appeal, and X-Ray Spex – well you had to be there didn’t you? You could have gone for their ‘hit’ – ‘Hey bondage, Up Yours!’ or their relatively ‘radio-friendly’ ‘Identity’, but ‘The Day the World Turned Dayglo’ captures their spirit.

    And reminds me of another X – Sydney band XL Capris from the late 70s with a tear-up cover of a smaltzy hymn to Sydney:

    The original is very different, but you need to see it to get the XL Capris’ joke

    Got a lot of mileage out of this little letter.

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    1. Thanks, Peter. I value your Australian extras!
      I think my chosen X-Ray Spex song summed up the ‘feel’ indeed.
      The xx are growing on me. One day, I might buy their ‘Best Of’! 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  4. Oh, I do not know the given groups. But they are great!
    I add: X-Japan, Xandria ( both not your music ) and the German Singer Xavier Naidoo

    And I don`t understand what happend with Xanadu – I like that song!

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    1. Thanks very much, Irene. ‘Xanadu’ is considered to be something of a joke. Maybe you have to have English as a first language to get the irony? I don’t know, but I am exceptionally pleased to see you back on my blog. You’re a star!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Now I hear “Ghosts” on youtube. I never heard about the Band Japan before. The Band I mean is called X-Japan! And these are also Japanese. 🙂

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  5. Not only did this post show the love of “Xanadu” Pete, but as an ELO fan you have of course heard their original version of it as well? I know Jeff Lynne didn’t release it for years, and we probably know the reason why, but what a slice of pop heaven! Oh, and even though he has been dead for a few years, Michael Jackson released an album a year or so ago, with the title track “Xscape” – do with that what you will!

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  6. XTC were a bit too clever for their own good in this fans humble opinion. Senses working overtime and making plans for Nigel (as mentioned earlier) each seemed like a couple of tunes rolled into one. XTC had some interesting song titles too. ‘Love on a farm boys wages’ and ‘the ballad of Peter Pumpkin head’ for example. Their style changed constantly and in interesting directions at times, such as their sea shanty ‘All you pretty girls’ and the atheist ditty ‘Dear God’ which caused a ripple of concern back in the day. XTC fully explored their psychedelic side as the band The Dukes of Stratosphere… but with very limited success.

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    1. Thanks for the full background on the band, Keith. I only ever liked ‘Nigel’ myself, and hold no brief for anything else they did. Mind you, I did buy this one on a single…
      Cheers mate, Pete.

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