There was a brief stretch some years back in which I bought five XTC records in the span of about two weeks, many of which were easy to track down in used-LP bins all over the world. The catalyst for the sudden dive into the popular British rock band's catalog was today's 12 O'Clock Track
, "Respectable Street," the opener from the 1980 album Black Sea
. Written by guitarist and vocalist Andy Partridge, it's stitched with a bouncy, tom-heavy rhythm complemented by a loopy bass groove from founding member Colin Moulding. As jagged bouts of postpunk guitar orbit the track's core, Partridge's lyrics take shots at society's hoity-toity upper crust with lines like "It's in the look they give you down their nose / All part of decency's jigsaw I suppose." The booming vocals propel the track more than anything else, matching perfectly with the theater of its instrumentation and the biting nature of his lyrics. Check out the ancient music video below, featuring a good bit of ridiculousness from the band and a hammed-up performance by the song's front man (XTC later had to withdraw from touring altogether as Partridge began wrestling with intense stage fright).