Hey, here’s a riddle for you: why does the first single from each Blur album have the worst B-sides?
Answer: I have no idea!
And this stupid single is no exception! “Beetlebum” is a nice single, though not a world changer. It’s one of those sorta love songs, the ones that could easily be about heroin. It has a neat slinky riff through most of the song, an above average melody, and a coda that goes way longer than it has to. I’m not a big fan of how the drums kick in the same way every time, making the song seem more repetitive than it (mostly) is. And no, they don’t even explain why “Beetlebum” is named as such. Also on this single is the “Mario Caldato Jr Mix” of the Beets, which is almost the same but with added suck in the form of production that tries to make it sound more alternative and Damon sound more than the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, all breathy and sweaty and such and such.
Then there are the B-sides: “All Your Life” is a stupid pop song, with about five things that annoy me and none that I like, a song obviously not cut out for the album. then “A Spell (For Money)” is another harmless instrumental driven by a cutesy keyboard line, the kind Blur liked accompanying their later singles, but unlike “Supa Shoppa” or “Anniversary Waltz” it isn’t even catchy or memorable, so it flits by leaving you wondering where your ears went for three thirty-two. The other part of the single has, in addition to the aforementioned alternate mix of The Beets, “Woodpigeon Song,” a brief, quiet song with no hooks and a lot of meh falsetto, and “Dancehall,” which is all quiet for about thirty seconds before becoming all distorted and stuff, like early Beck, with indecipherable vocals and once again NO HOOKS. Sounds like someband wasn’t overflowing with creativity after managing to scratch together a good album!