It originally appeared on the album Skylarking , but the unexpected success of " Dear God " meant placing the latter on the album; "Mermaid Smiled" was chosen to be taken off to fit it. It would later be included on the odds-and-ends compilation Rag and Bone Buffet , and re-releases of Skylarking would re-include the song. A brief recording of Andy's discovery of a "new" tuning which would be used for "Mermaid Smiled," titled " Mermaid Explanation ," appeared on Fuzzy Warbles Volume 5 in The full demo follows immediately after "Explanation. So I slapped the back of my acoustic in lieu of bongos and made white noise waves, but what the hell was it about?
Smjled if such a thing existed, it's because they changed the running order on it and had to remaster it — Xtc mermaid smiled I had nothing to do with. A brief recording of Andy's discovery of a "new" tuning which would be used for "Mermaid Smiled," titled " Mermaid Explanation ," appeared on Fuzzy Warbles Volume 5 in No Replies Log in to reply. Upon release, Skylarking was met with indifference in the UK, Xtc mermaid smiled in the album charts to number 90, while both of its lead singles " Grass " metmaid with " Dear God " and " The Meeting Place " peaked at number The Post and Courier. All of the basic tracks were recorded in the same order as they appear on Coco lee porn album, as were the drum overdubs that followed. I think on the original one the boy had a guitar and the girl Xtc mermaid smiled a flute, but we gave them both flutes. Mojo :
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Lyrics submitted by BlueAndStarry.
- Lyrics submitted by BlueAndStarry.
- As a big fan of the album "Skylarking" and an enthusiast bass player, I decided to transcribe all the songs from the record except " Umbrellas" because there's no bass, duh , including "Dear God".
- It originally appeared on the album Skylarking , but the unexpected success of " Dear God " meant placing the latter on the album; "Mermaid Smiled" was chosen to be taken off to fit it.
Produced by American musician Todd Rundgren , it is a loose concept album about a nonspecific cycle, such as a day, a year, the seasons, or life. It became one of XTC's best-known albums and is generally regarded as their finest work. Rundgren played a large role in the album's sound design and drum programming, providing the band with orchestral arrangements and an assortment of gear. However, the sessions were fraught with tension, especially between Rundgren and bandleader Andy Partridge , and numerous disagreements arose over drum patterns, song selections, and other details.
In , it was discovered that a wiring error made during the mastering process caused the album to have a "thin" sound. The problem was corrected on subsequent remasters. Upon release, Skylarking was met with indifference in the UK, rising in the album charts to number 90, while both of its lead singles " Grass " backed with " Dear God " and " The Meeting Place " peaked at number Early sales of the album were hampered by the omission of "Dear God" from the album's original pressings.
In the US, the song became a college radio hit, causing US distributor Geffen Records to recall and repress Skylarking with the track included, and propelling the album to number Following the song's growth in popularity, it was the subject of controversy in the US, inspiring many angry phone calls to radio stations and at least one bomb threat.
Skylarking was later listed on " greatest albums of the s" lists by Rolling Stone in  and Pitchfork in In the s, XTC underwent a gradual transition in their sound and image. Partridge remembered: "That was a bit upsetting to think that people preferred these pretend personalities to our own personalities Guitarist Dave Gregory was a fan of Rundgren's music, particularly since hearing the album Hermit of Mink Hollow.
His bandmates were not as familiar with the producer. Then Dave started playing me one or two things. In the absence of any better alternatives, he agreed. Using this framework, I came up with a sequence of songs and a justification for their placement and brought it to the band. The chosen songs were of a gentler atmosphere and relations were drawn between tempo, key , and subject matter. It's just about summer and being out in the open and discovering sex in a stumbly, teenage way. Similar to 25 O'Clock , the music was heavily influenced by the s psychedelic era.
As music critic A. The Big Express , but with a softly sweeping gracefulness and a finessed orchestral swirl. He had also recently become a father and began listening to numerous Beach Boys albums, before which he had only been familiar with their singles.
Partridge: "I was already feeling sort of pushed out by Virgin. But, honestly, that was the best batch of material that Colin had ever offered up for". I know for a fact that, had he not, my contribution in number would have been decidedly less.
I was just grateful that the band had an independent arbiter. The collaboration with Rundgren proved to be difficult, especially for Partridge, and numerous disagreements arose over drum patterns, song selections, and other details.
I think [Colin and Dave] trusted me, but Andy never did. Things just went from bad to worse. Partridge was satisfied with Rundgren's arrangements but frustrated with the producer's "patronizing" and "so bloody sarcastic" remarks during sessions.
I'll come down and I'll record me singing it and you can have me in your headphones to sing along to. I'm going up to my house. When you find out it doesn't work your way, give me a call and we'll record it my way. But there was never anything physical. Just verbal abuse.
Andy rose to the bait every time. Rundgren had listened to The Big Express and concluded that the group had "lost track" of their studio indulgences.
Partridge often stated that this was because Rundgren wanted to spend as little money as possible, while Moulding said: "I don't believe that was the only reason. You could tell, that was his working method. He liked to do it because he's of the opinion -- and I think I am as well -- that the best take is where the band is running through while the engineer's trying to get a sound! That's the take that should be recorded, you know.
The band routinely played the theme from The Munsters whenever they could see Rundgren arriving to the studio. According to Partridge, Rundgren never realized the joke was at his resemblance to Herman Munster. And at times we were having a good time. All of the basic tracks were recorded in the same order as they appear on the album, as were the drum overdubs that followed. In Moulding's recollection, "That was the problem with the whole record.
I realized, 'I don't know any of these songs! What'll we do? No edits. Todd had a very unorthodox way of recording—15 ips. Second takes were uncommon, but it was all charming in a way. Rundgren played a large role in the album's sound design and drum programming, providing the band with string and brass arrangements, as well as an assortment of gear that included a Fairlight CMI , Yamaha DX7 , E-mu Emulator , pre- MIDI LinnDrum , and a Prophet bought especially for the album.
The only instruments the band had brought with them to the US were "about eight guitars". While in San Francisco, the band stayed at a condominium a few blocks away from Rundgren's apartment.
Prince later praised Partridge's "sense of rhythm I'm not sure if I've actually ever heard him sit down and play a set of drums, but I think that he probably could do an excellent job. I know he's done some great drum programming. As things got recorded, they would check them off and make notes about what takes they were happy with.
The original sleeve design was to depict close-up shots of human pubic regions with flowers fitted into the hairs, female on the front and male on the back.
Photo sessions were held, but record shops informed the label that they would not carry the album with that artwork, and so the idea was discarded. As a last minute alternative, Partridge said, "I stole this very tasteful print from a classics concert in done by a chap called Hans Erney [ sic ].
I changed a few things on the drawing. I think on the original one the boy had a guitar and the girl had a flute, but we gave them both flutes. So it really was a tasteful alternative to the original sleeve, which really would have been suicide to put out.
On the back cover, the group are depicted wearing Catholic schoolgirl uniforms. Partridge's intention was to have the group dressed in Quaker outfits looking "really disapprovingly". The reason why they wear schoolgirl outfits instead was due to a miscommunication made when Partridge ordered the outfits.
It is introduced with the sound of a bee that pans across the stereo channels. Rundgren played melodica , Partridge recalled, "and we got to bully him! It was great. Moulding composed it on an open E-tuned guitar and found its harmonic changes by playing the chord shapes of Thunderclap Newman 's " Something in the Air " Rundgren added a tiple to the blend.
He said Rundgren voiced concern that the effect was too close to "a molester", and so Moulding "did the Bowie thing and added an octave above it". He characterised it as "a childish, nursery-rhyme, bell-like, small town riff. As if you were looking down on Toytown, and it was me in the landscape, meeting my wife beside the factory or something, in our teens. Swindon Works closed within a year of the song's recording.
Gregory: "We really didn't know what to do with it. One afternoon, we just left him to it. Because of recording logistics, Prince and Moulding were forced to play around the beat. Partridge: "The one thing 1 remember about the rain as a child was my mother cursing that her new hairdo was going to get ruined. Rundgren was unaware that "Miracle Plays" were biblical performances from the Medieval times, and thinking that Partridge was mistaken, requested that it be changed to "passion play".
Partridge refused because he wanted to maintain the alliteration in "melting miracle". He said: "It was a rather doomy, miserable little thing with all those descending chromatic chords, and I thought, 'Oh dear, how can l cheer this miserable song up?
Partridge recalled that at one point, Gregory "took me on one side and said, 'I know what you mean by that lyric, 'How can you smile and forecast weather's getting better, if you've never let a girl rain all over you. And just to kind of tie things up, I tried to do some other things going on at the same time, 'cause we're cross-melody maniacs in this band, but I thought it would be fun. Then I thought, 'Shit, this really does sound like the Beach Boys.
He wrote "Earn Enough" about his former days working at a paint shop. The lyric "I can take humiliation and hurtful comments from the boss" refers to the shop's owner, Middle Mr. Look at ya, you fuckin' useless little cunt, snort! You got a fuckin' girl's haircut, ya little cunt, snort! The title means "getting back in touch with the child in you. And the key to that is something as frivolous as a smile on a mermaid. He wrote a poem containing some of the lyrics, called "Book Full of Sea", but could not remember if it was before or after he had the " Raga-mama-Raga " guitar motif: "I started to throw my hands around the fretboard and discovered some great-sounding stuff — all simple chords.
They're just straight barres or real simple shapes. It just sort of said rock pools and mermaids and breakers crashing. So I thought, 'It'd be great to do sort of a John Barry secret-agent soundtrack thing. I said to Todd, 'Ideally, make it like a Beatnik existential spy movie soundtrack.
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Lyrics submitted by BlueAndStarry. Log in now to tell us what you think this song means. Log in. Mixtapes Forums Lyrics Artists add Journals. Artists - X. XTC — Mermaid Smiled. Edit Wiki. Mermaid Smiled song meanings. Add your thoughts 3 Comments. General Comment This is an absolutely beautiful song, but I have to admit apart from the lovely imagery I don't really understand what this song is meant to be about.
Maybe it's just about the 'soul' of this song that is the real point, and I definately feel this apect of it whenever I listen to it, and immerse myself in the aesthetics of the words. No Replies Log in to reply. There was an error. The Distorted. General Comment For me, this is the colorful imagery from my childhood that returns to me when I visit a place familiar to that time. So, say I go to a beach that I spent a lot of time at as a child, this song may be somewhat close to the feeling that I experience.
Obviously, this isn't the meaning of the song for everyone, but it fits me pretty well in this sense. General Comment Hey yeah, you're not far off the original intention: I recently read - in the Fuzzy Warbles' Volume 5 booklet - something about Partridge saying this song is about 'lost childhood innocence', and I think it is also about the boundless scope of a child's imagination, with the imagery of the sea acting as the muse that connects the old child's mind with the new.
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