The Fine Art of Surfacing

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The Fine Art of Surfacing
Boomtown Rats - The Fine Art Of Surfacing album cover.jpg
Studio album by The Boomtown Rats
Released 9 October 1979[1]
Recorded 1979
Genre Rock
Length 40:13[1]
Label Mulligan Records (Ireland)
Ensign Records (UK)
Columbia Records (USA)
Producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Phil Wainman[2]
The Boomtown Rats chronology
A Tonic for the Troops
(1978)A Tonic for the Troops1978
The Fine Art of Surfacing
Mondo Bongo
(1981)Mondo Bongo1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (B-)[3]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[4]
Smash Hits 3/10[5]

The Fine Art of Surfacing was The Boomtown Rats' third album and contained the hit-single releases, "I Don't Like Mondays", "Diamond Smiles" and "Someone's Looking at You".[1] The album peaked at No. 7 in the UK Albums Chart in 1979.[6]

"I Don't Like Mondays" b/w "It's All the Rage" was released in June 1979, and reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in late July in the UK in the same year.[6] The song refers to Brenda Ann Spencer's killing spree on Monday, 29 January 1979 in San Diego, California.

Bob Geldof also went around America leading up to The Fine Art of Surfacing, drumming up publicity for the band in the States. During this time the Rats learned much about both American life and breaking into the American music market. This is a recurring theme on the album, sometimes taking a serious approach in looking at American society, in songs like "I Don't Like Mondays" and "Diamond Smiles," while other times looking at it in a downright silly and mocking manner in songs like "Nothing Happened Today" and "Having My Picture Taken," the album takes aim at 1979 life in classic punk style.[citation needed]

Musically, this album was, for the most part, quite a departure from the Rats' punk influences that came across so clearly in their debut album and A Tonic For The Troops. The Rats display many styles in this album from a wide range of influences.[1]

In 2005, this album was re-released (it had previously been released but fell out of print quickly), digitally remastered by Bob Geldof and Pete Briquette with bonus tracks, mostly B-sides from various eras, that delve more deeply into the Rats' musical influences.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bob Geldof unless otherwise indicated.

  1. "Someone's Looking at You" – 4:22
  2. "Diamond Smiles" – 3:49
  3. "Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)" – 4:35
  4. "Having My Picture Taken" (Geldof, Pete Briquette) – 3:18
  5. "Sleep (Fingers' Lullaby)" (Johnnie Fingers) – 5:30
  6. A hidden track (with lyrics including "that's not funny, I'm not laughing"), on the original LP playing through to the run-out groove.
  7. "I Don't Like Mondays" – 4:16
  8. "Nothing Happened Today" – 3:18
  9. "Keep It Up" (Geldof, Gerry Cott) – 3:39
  10. "Nice N Neat" – 2:50
  11. "When the Night Comes" – 5:00
  12. A hidden track with spoken "That concludes episode 3. We will return...": included as a named track ("Episode #3") on the 2005 re-release, combined with run-out groove of LP side one – 1:10[1]

2005 re-release bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "Real Different" (b-side of "Elephant's Graveyard") – 2:39
  2. "How Do You Do?" (b-side of "Like Clockwork") – 2:39
  3. "Late Last Night" (b-side of "Diamond Smiles") – 2:43
  4. "Nothing Happened Today" (Live in Cardiff) – 3:44




Year Chart Position
1979 UK Albums Chart[6] 7
1980 US Billboard 200[7] 103


Year Single Chart Position
1979 "I Don't Like Mondays" Billboard Hot 100[8] 73


Organization Gold Certification Platinum Certification
CRIA – Canada November 1, 1979 February 1, 1980
BPI – UK February 13, 1980 March 3, 1980


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mike DeGagne. "The Fine Art of Surfacing - The Boomtown Rats | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  2. ^ a b "The Fine Art of Surfacing - The Boomtown Rats | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  3. ^ "CG: Boomtown Rats". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived March 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Starr, Red. "Albums". Smash Hits (November 1–14, 1979): 29. 
  6. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 71. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  7. ^ "The Fine Art of Surfacing - The Boomtown Rats | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  8. ^ "The Boomtown Rats | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-09.