XTC Vs. Adam Ant

From This Might Be A Wiki

song name XTC vs. Adam Ant
artist They Might Be Giants
releases Factory Showroom, John Henry + Factory Showroom
year 1996
first played March 23, 1995 (147 known performances)
run time 3:37
sung by John Flansburgh


This song is about an imaginary rivalry between these two seminal but totally distinct early '80s rock icons. It is also definitive proof TMBG is still hopelessly trapped in a world of pop culture references. We recorded a song for the XTC tribute record last year, and while we were tracking it we had to record some backwards vocal for a psychedelic section. Since it didn't really matter what we said we recited a bunch of bands contemporary with the lads from Swindon, including Adam Ant. The contrast between the two seemed striking and while doing a bit of press to promote that tribute album, we cooked up this song.
This track from 1996’s Factory Showroom finds the two Johns moving past their usual whimsical absurdism into full-blown silliness, as they set up a theoretical duel to the death between two titans of the British new wave. “Beatle-based pop vs. New Romantic”—even Bow Wow Wow’s Annabella Lwin can’t decide. Although it’s unclear what the consequences are, it’s quite a titanic struggle: “Just when you think it’s finished, with XTC on top, ‘Ant Music,’ like a phoenix, flies back up the charts.”
  • On June 24, 2002, Washingtonpost.com hosted a moderated chat with Flansburgh, in which fan questions were chosen to be answered. When asked about the meaning of the song, Flansburgh said, "The point of the song is they are both good for different reasons- who is rock more? Buddy Holly or Little Richard? We need them both!"
  • Bow Wow Wow were formed in 1980 when Adam and the Ants were broken up by former Sex Pistols producer Malcolm McLaren, and he joined the former Ants with 13 year-old singer Annabella Lwin (who presumably can't make up her mind after being fired by her band in 1983). Adam Ant (a.k.a. Stuart Leslie Goddard) continued on as a solo act.

Song Themes

Death, Fade Out, History, Letters Of The Alphabet, Music, Mythology, Time


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XTC Vs. Adam Ant is currently ranked #731 out of 1012. (113 wikians have given it an average rating of 7.66)