First up alphabetically, Marshall Crenshaw, 50 today. 50? Anyway, I've loved Crenshaw's music since he hit the scene with his landmark self-titled debut back in 1982. That album is as close to a perfect example of what whiteboy pop should be as we'll ever get in our lifetime. Subsequent releases, though, disappointed both aesthetically and sales-wise so Marshall never really had the career many envisioned for him. Still, he's still around, recording and touring, and you never know... Favorite MC album: of course, 1982's Marshall Crenshaw. Underrated: 1987's Good Evening.
Blowing out candles with Crenshaw is XTC's principal singer and songwriter Andy Partridge, also 50 today! Ever since picking up Skylarking in 1986, I've loved the engaging Beach Boys-meets-Robert Burns sound of the Swindon's finest. Not that Colin Moulding hasn't contributed several great songs, but Partridge's particular ethos kinda dominates. Many like the earlier, New Wave-ish XTC, and there are some great tunes there as well, but I'm more of a fan of the stuff from English Settlement on. Favorite XTC album: the aforementioned 1986 Todd Rundgren-produced Skylarking. Underrated: 1992's Nonsvch.
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