May 07

Tanya’s Army Of Awfulness: XTC – SERGEANT ROCK

FT + I Hate Music8 comments • 4,476 views

sgtrock.jpgActually the XTC single is called Sgt.Rock, where Sgt is the abbreviation for Sergeant. Which is not surprising for XTC, a band so poor at spelling that they could not spell their own name. Even the home counties numb-nutts that were EMF knew that Ecstacy starts with an E. Unless they were taking advice from the E-Zee Possee (more poor spellers) who foolishly believed that Everything Starts With An E. Actually what Mr E.Z.Possee actually should have noticed was the following things started with an e:
1) The Word Everything
2) Everything that begins with an E
3) All his GCSE results.

But I digress.

Sgt.Rock is a song about the wussy boys from XTC being a bit rubbish with girls. But rather than get a haircut, stop playing parochial post punk limerick pop and hang out in trendy bars, XTC decide to enlist. Believing that a buzz cut and access to automatic weaponry would be the secret to their problem with girls was foolish in itself, but not as foolish as enlisting to work with a completely fictional comic-book army instead of the real one. Sgt. Frank Rock, of Easy Company, was never shown to be a dab hand with the ladies in his US comics G.I.Combat or Our Army At War, and the very existence fo girls was pretty much shunned by adolescent boy comics. Unless they were Baronesses work for the RATZI’s.

Andy Partridge’s problem with women is very clear from the lyrics where he calls them anything but. Sgt Rock is apparently going to help him “make the girl mine”, “help with a maid“, is an “expert on mademoiselles“, can diffuse “any bombshell“. Yeah, but what is he like with women? Frankly calling in Sergeant Rock for relationship advice is like phoning Spider-Man to get your plumbing done.


  1. 1
    staggerlee on 5 Jun 2007 #

    Well, yeah, it’s not anything like their best song, is it? Andy P hisself cringes when it’s brought up — hates its guts. If I recall, he was trying for some kind of campy extended metaphor, based on Andy’s lifelong infatuation with comic books and toy soldiers, that just didn’t pan out. So it goes.

  2. 2
    emma on 25 Jul 2007 #

    Erm isn’t it meant to be an ironic comment on macho values? ‘Sgt Rock is going to help me, make the girl mine, keep her stood in line’. ‘If I could only be tough like him then I could win my own small battle of the sexes.’ Think the implication is meant to be that this won’t work in actualite!

  3. 3
    peter on 21 Apr 2009 #

    clueless prick

  4. 4
    The old man of the woods on 10 May 2010 #

    You’ve just earned yourself a Forester fatwa for calling EMF “home-counties numbnuts” – Gloucestershire is not the home counties. The Forest of Dean (the part of Gloucestershire on the other side of the Severn) doubly so.

    If you see a sheep – any sheep – be very, very worried.

  5. 5
    Natalya on 28 Jul 2010 #

    You are an uneducated idiot who most likely enjoy listening to pop rubbish. XTC in my opinion are a forgotten gem of a band, who unlike most current popular artists, write interesting songs. My guess is you like very conventional things, and that is fine for you. Go ahead and attack what you do not understand.

  6. 6
    Neeproc on 24 Feb 2011 #

    I always assumed XTC’s Sgt Rock was a veiled reference to the male genetalia. Did Andy Partridge refer to his erection as Sgt. Rock?

  7. 7
    Mark G on 28 Oct 2013 #

    #6, that would be more a Barry Andrews lyrical device.

    #7, You’ve bookmarked it? Oh Good..

  8. 8
    Bart Simpson on 18 Jan 2022 #

    Hah, year years later, when listening to another rerelease of Black Sea, Andy Partridge brings up some sort of controversy with this song in the liner notes. I attempt to find out what he means, and this site is the first to come up on a Google search.

    I like how this take completely gets the odd logic the band had in recording this song but then grabs it by the balls and carries on with the metaphor to it’s most bizarre end result. I’m glad this write up exists.

    (from 2007)

    (Christ, I’m late)

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