My favorite 100 albums of all time: #31 ("Waxworks / Beeswax")

XTC collection "Waxworks / Beeswax" album coversWaxworks and Beeswax are a double dose of angular, jumpy, frenetic pop from Swindon's XTC. This pairing captures the very best of XTC's early period, before they evolved into a more "pastoral" (and Beatlesque) sound on later albums.

Officially Waxworks: Some Singles 1977–1982 and Beeswax: Some B-Sides 1977–1982 are separate albums. However, I'm lumping them together because that's how I first found them, as a long-play cassette from Virgin released in 1982. At 25 songs, it was one hell of a score when I still chose new music based on how much I could scrape together from part-time jobs. "This album has 12 songs, but this one is the same price and it's 25 songs! Score!" I've never really thought of side two as b-sides, probably because XTC's b-sides were usually just as good as their singles – and certainly better than a lot of bands' singles.

You'll note that 1977-1982 corresponds with XTC's touring years, before the band stopped touring and being constrained by playing songs live.

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