Blur – Country House

A fun historical note: the Blur-Oasis feud in England you may have heard of (Blur were the University-educated Aristocat band, Oasis were the blue-collar fucks who wished Blur would die of AIDS of on the radio) came to its best point when this single went against Oasis’ “Roll With It.” Blur’s won the race to #1, hopefully because “Roll With It” was the worst early Oasis single ever. It probably marked the last time people really cared about singles! Not me, though, because I’m not people.

Someone really needs to remix together “Hit ‘Em Up” by Tupac and “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None The Richer and call it “Tupac None the Richer”. That said, “Country House” is a grape song, but you already knew that from my review of the album, where I said this: ““Country House” does all of the above only really really well, “Ch” so you know I meant it. It’s a silly song, of course: a tale of a “city dwella, successful fella” who throws away the fast-paced city life to live in a “very big house in the country.” Why, one could even call it a “great escape,” eh? EH? The secret weapons are the backup vocals “I am so sad / I don’t know why” – AWW, and the mid-verse hooks. Every Blur song’s got chorus hooks, but this one’s got catchy verses too! Me want-um! And yes, there is a great swooping, descending bassline as well, one that’s sort of the point of the whole song. So it’s a great song, but it’s on the album, which you know because yeah.

So what’s there besides that aside? There’s one new song, “One Born Every Minute”, a version of “To The End” titled “La Comedie”, and four lives tracks from Mile End Stadium, 17 June 1995: ‘Country House”, “Girls & Boys”, “Parklife”, and “For Tomorrow”.

First, the ones you haven’t heard before: “One Born Every Minute” is an uber-whimsical fluff song, with a Monty Python piano tune riff and duck noises behind a song that, with it’s P.T. Barnum reference in the title is probably better than I care about because of all the silliness and lack of hooks. “To The End (La Comedie)” is yet another version of a song that just showed up in French as a B-side like two singles ago. This one’s reimagined as a duet between half of Damon’s original recording and a female singer singing new lyrics in French. I don’t know if the French is any good, and it sounds fine, but it’s still basically the same song! I already have a great version of “To The End” and it’s on Parklife. There’s a nice new instrumental ending too with accordion and keyboards but I still don’t care because this is the third version they’ve released. Slim pickings considering it’s the first single.

The live tracks find the Blurs in a better mood than the last time we heard them live way ago in the Leisure era. There’s some appreciation of the crowd. Blur have an odd tendency to play most every live song at a slightly faster tempo than it was on the album, plus the guitar tone, as expected, has to be the same from song to song, and the band reliably picks one that leans toward distortion and rock music instead of a clean pop sound. Let me walk you through the banters:

Damon:  “That looks great..you look like barley or wheat in the wind. This song’s about the country so when you do that it looks appropriate…this song’s Country House and it’s about neurotic pop stars and…stuff like that.” (The band plays a lively “Country House”)

Damon: “Let’s all have a disco, let’s all have a disco….let’s all have a disco. This is for all the holiday makers nine to five…” (crowd goes crazy as band plays “Girls and Boys”) (Damon says “nothing is wasted / we only reproduce” instead of “only reproduced”) (The crowd carries the second chorus themselves)
Damon: Phil Daniels everyone! (note: that’s the actor who does the vocals on “Parklife”)

Phil: Oy! so uh…I’ve got the words written on me hand.
Damon (Unnecessarily): Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!
PD: *sounds really excited to be speak/singing to a live audience.*
(The band plays a lively “Parklife” with more distorted guitars than usual)
Damon: It looks beautiful now, Canary Wharf…aw thanks hun. Must drive you mad if you live in one of those flats looking at that light, bleeping, 24 hours a day…it’s called For Tomorrow!
(The band plays a lengthy “For Tomorrow”, which I’m sick of, followed by over a minute of crowd noise including chanting for Damon)

Here are my basic heat-use calculations for my apartment today, which I’ll never explain sometime:

15 x 7 = 105
30 x 1.5 = 45
8 x 3 = 24
15 x 3 = 45

= 150 + 24 = 174 + 45 + 2 = 221 / 600

7 / 10

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