Music Geek-Out #7

Next is XTC’s “Making Plans for Nigel”.

This track was always on 97X’s Modern Rock 500 (a countdown of the 500 best modern rock songs, held the same weekend as the Indy 500, which was about a two hour drive away). I wanted this track to transition, musically, between the Afghan Whigs track and the Talking Heads “Psycho Killer.”

Lyrically, though, it’s an interesting contrast to the previous tracks about deindustrialization and punky “no future” sentiment. This song is about “Nigel,” whose “future is as good as sealed” in “British Steel” (presumably as a foreman, as a sign in the video suggests. Also interesting is the way the repetition of “steel” in the break brings out the homophony between “steel” and “steal”). So, perhaps my UK readers can correct me on this, but I’m assuming that “Nigel” reads a bit middle-class, and the fact that his “future” is all set for him (handed to him, pre-planned for him) is of a piece with his class status.