Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wrapped In Grey

From the "how in the world does someone come up with this shit" department, please enjoy the beauty that is "Wrapped In Grey," just one of the countless Andy Partridge tunes that make my jaw drop and my heart swoon.

Some folks see the world as a stone
Concrete daubed in dull monotone
Your heart is the big box of paints
And others, the canvas we're dealt
Your heart is the big box of paints
How coloured the flowers all smelled
As they huddled there, in petalled prayer
They told me this, as I knelt there
Awaken you dreamers
Adrift in your beds
Balloons and streamers
Decorate the inside of your heads
Please let some out
Do it today
But don't let the loveless ones sell you
A world wrapped in grey
Some folks pull this life like a weight
Drab and dragging dreams made of slate
Your heart is the big box of paints
And others, the canvas we're dealt
Your heart is the big box of paints
Just think how the old masters felt, they call...
Awaken you dreamers
Asleep at your desks
Parrots and lemurs
Populate your unconscious grotesques
Please let some out
Do it today
Don't let the loveless ones sell you
A world wrapped in grey
And in the very least you can
Stand up naked and



Grey said...

Thanks for posting this. Possibly the most beautiful thing XTC ever recorded. "Your heart is the big box of paints" - so much joy and possibility so perfectly encapsulated in that line that it always leaves me lost for words.

I also love the song because "Awaken you dreamers/Asleep at your desks" always reminds me of "The Crimson Permanent Assurance."

Anything Should Happen said...

An album that people compare unfavourably after Skylarking and Oranges And Lemons, yet there are some absolute gens on Nonsuch.

This is one andif Books Are Burning doesn't nail a point, I don't know what does.

Ignorance With Gasoline what a line!

cmealha said...

He is a singular and extremely underrated talent. What I wouldn't give for new material from him.

Albert said...

No band knew its way around a recording studio or the composing desk(from the mid '80 on) like XTC...yet it seems they still need advocation, ala your loving and deserved praise on this blog site...still amazes me....

Omnibus said...

OK, a funny story... "Nonsuch" has long been one of my favorite albums, one nobody seems to mention one way or another -- it's all "Skylarking" (which I also love) or "English Settlement" (which I don't). But "Nonsuch," what a great, great record.

But the funny thing is, as much as I've listened to that album thru the years, my ears have gone to almost all the other songs, almost never to this song. I've put "Humble Daisy" on cd's for my kids, "Then She Appeared" on a cd for my wife, "Omnibus" on a mix of sociopolitical songs... you get the idea.

But somehow "Wrapped in Gray" had always eluded me. Until now -- and now I see what a great song it is! Sometimes I'm guilty of what Todd Rundgren writes about in the liner notes to "Something/Anything" -- he put "I Saw The Light" first on the whole set "because that's how they do it at Motown"... similarly, I sometimes pay most attention to the songs at the top of the deck, especially a long album like "Nonsuch."

So, thanks for pointing out this hidden jewel, Sal!

A guy called Tak said...

Ooooh...I forgot about this song completely.
What was I thinking!?
This is a brilliant song by XTC and I can see the influence from "Surf's Up" by Brian & Van Dyke.
Andy Partridge is shamelessly underappreciated by people.
Thanks for reminding me of this beautiful song, Sal.

Sal Nunziato said...

I am loving this post.

I may gush about Todd Rundgren a bit more than necessary, and The Beatles...well, that's just how it is...but I think it's Andy Partridge, words and music, that most often catch me off guard and suckerpunch me into some musical reverie.

I hear "I Saw The Light," and I just smile. Perfect.

I hear any number of Andy Partridge tunes, and I'm wondering, "How does someone do this?"

Glad you all feel the same.

And ASH...

It was "Books Are Burning" that opened my ears to what a brilliant pair of guitar players Andy and Dave are. Could be in my Top Ten fave solos of all time.

JB said...

When I was younger and had more free time I really pored over lyrics. But somewhere along the line I started just letting lyrics wash over me rather than reading along while listening to new songs. I listened to the words (the ones I could discern), and assumed I'd catch the gist... and decipher more meaning... over repeated listenings.

But I've reveled in the beautiful melody of "Wrapped in Grey" without paying adequate attention to Andy P's well-chosen words. Sal, thanks for helping me take my appreciation for this song to a new level.

XTC deserves a higher profile but I'm not sure if that equates to being under-appreciated... since so many of the people who have heard their music appreciate the hell out of it. XTC is simply essential.

Shriner said...

And yet there are still people who refuse to acknowledge this band because of "Dear God".

Which is a shame because they are truly missing out of some of the most fabulous music ever.

"In Loving Memory of a Name" just flipped on through shuffle (*that's* a moving song and I'd nominate it above Wrapped in Grey for "most beautiful", personally) and reminded me of what a stunning album "Mummer" is...

jayway said...

Ashamed to say I've never heard this. Now I can't imagine ever being without it. Thank you.

Bill said...

This has always been one of my favorite songs on Nonsuch (although "Dear Madame Barnum" is probably the one I play in the jukebox of my mind the most), but this is the first time I've ever actually read the lyrics. Thanks Sal!