Saturday, March 10, 2012

Goodbye: Goodbye Dreaming Fields

Martin Newell (with Andy Partridge): Goodbye Dreaming Fields


If, as I did, you discovered Martin Newell and his song Goodbye Dreaming Fields after the fact, you might be tempted to dismiss it, musically, as an XTC knockoff. Indeed, Andy Partridge was the producer, played many of the instruments, and can even be heard on background vocals. But, the XTC albums that sound most like this, Oranges and Lemons and Nonesuch, came out after this one. So, it would be more correct to say that Martin Newell’s influence on XTC is clear. As for the lyrics, Newell is a very different kind of writer than Partridge. Newell is in no hurry, letting his words and images accumulate to great affect. Here, he presents a series of characters who are trying to come to grips with the departure of their youth. The characters have a distinctly English feel to them. Newell was not aiming for universality, but rather was describing what he knew best. The song has a jangly pop feel, paired with a bittersweet lyric to great effect.

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