Song of the Day: XTC – Grass

Jordan Posner Recalls: I’ll be honest: 1986’s Skylarking is the only XTC album that I enjoy listening to straight through. Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding’s resilient new-wave band is capable of isolated moments of greatness, and has been since their inception in 1976, but many of their records are so loaded with musical ideas that they become tedious slogs after a while. Not so with Skylarking. Pop craftsman Todd Rundgren produced this one, and he was able to pare it down to its essential hooky elements. Though some of the songs could score Prozac commercials (“That’s Really Super, Supergirl” comes to mind), Partridge’s sunniness is undercut by the sucker punch of “Dear God” and the gorgeous “Sacrificial Bonfire.” All are solid songs, but the standout is Moulding’s “Grass.”

Like a lot of great songs, this song is a thinly-veiled reference to intercourse. Specifically, to having sex outside in the grass. Which is an excellent way to get deer ticks.

Despite the vaguely rapey imagery (I will pounce on you/you are helpless now, etc), I think it’s generally a lighthearted and cheeky ode to a roll in the hay. Of course, given that Moulding is very insistent on using the phrase “on grass,” there’s at least a 50/50 shot that he’s also talking about marijuana. I hear the rock and rollers are fond of the stuff. As for me, I only barely know what it is. Nobody has ever asked me to try it. I live a solitary, smelly life.

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This song simply exudes an appreciation for nature, a pastoral, idyllic plot of pure greenery, where any number of naughty things can happen. Be they harmless sexing or gratuitous drug use, many of us will always remember the “things we did on grass.”

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