Blur – Popscene

Uh, what the hell? An angry rock song attacking the scene they just inhabited? With a driving bassline? Whaaaaat? Yes, Blur arrived here. In a year’s time they’ve changed completely, including a lean, intelligent angst-machine that one could only have seen coming, barely, from the B-sides on the previous singles.

And they knew it. Unfortunately, nobody bought it. Really, this peaked at, like, #57 on the charts in England, and #nothing in America, even though it sounds like a crossover hit (excessively British horn section excepted). And the band was bitter, refusing to put it on the forthcoming album (okay) or the greatest hits collection fifteen years later (I love you guys).

The best part is that the song is meaner to fans of the scene that the bands or the labels, probably a large part of why these guys got labelled “elitists” by Oasis fans. And maybe they are, but intelligent people shouldn’t care when they had a good point, particularly when the intelligentsia are the ones criticized. Let’s grow a backbone here, they’re a band, not our girlfriends. This is a great, concise, coherent song, and I guess that makes it
unlikeable. Well, fuck.

The B-sides are, sadly, not terrific. Early MLIR songs, I’d persume. ‘Thers a six minute wall of noisey instrumental with a Zeppelin-worth riff and nothing else, a couple rather limp pop songs (“Mace” is the better one, but meh to both), and a song that’s too long at five minutes about a policeman or something that has a lot of tempo changes but isn’t any great bananas.

It’s a hard single to rate, because the A-side is so awesome. Eh, let’s just give it a 6!

6 / 10

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