Blur – Parklife

For the most part this is another drab Parklife-era single. Once again, the single itself is a great release, one that showcases how many styles Blur were effective at back in the day. The first single was vacant-sounding disco-y dance, then the big orchestral sad number, and now a pure pop-rock song with an insistent, catchy guitar riff, and – surprise! – spoken-word lyrics by a TV star before reverting to the norm for the usual anthemic chorus. And the lyrics – full of non-sequitors and with each line punctuated by a shout of the song’s title. It really makes being bitter at mankind fun.

The B-sides, mostly, do not. This time there’s not one but TWO castoff silly instrumentals. Gah! “Beard” is a bit jazzy, and “Supa Shoppa,” while better, is another of those led by a thin organ that makes it sound like music for “The Sims” or a bad 70s porn movie. Neither are particularly memorable. Then there’s a “French Version” of “To The End” which is exactly that – just a vocal take in a different language and completely worthless as a song, but! Unexpectedly and inexplicably these are followed by “Theme From an Imaginary Film,” a fantastic, orchestrated , pathos-filled rumination of another failed marriage, but one that’s upbeat enough to make it comedic in the playwriting sense. Plus, the music is particularly memorable. There’s one bad line at the end, but it’s followed by some excellent choir-y “Aaaaah!s” before ending on another excellent musical hook. Golly, what happened here?

Shame about the other three songs. I know they’re B-sides and all, but it’s still a shame. I mean, this was England in the mid-90s, when people actually bought singles! I imagine two little boys, sporting funny English accents. One buys CD1, featuring a French version of an album song and a bad instrumental, and the other gets CD2, featuring the better instrumental and maybe Blur’s best B-side ever. And the second child laughs and laughs and goes on to become a rocket surgeon, and the first one cries and cries and dies at seventeen in a freak snowmobile accident and his dead body is fucked and fucked and fucked by the Yeti. It could happen to YOU!

7 / 10

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