Blur – The Universal

Another fantasmic single track from the boys in Blur, at once stately, majestic, watery, catchy, and heartbreaking. It’s the new “To the End” but probably even better. That “it really really really could happen” chorus stays in your head when you wake in the morning. And what a glorious abstract concept to tie it together! Oh yes, oh yes. Eleven of ten for this track.

So the B-sides. We’ve got two new songs, one remix, and four live tracks. The new songs are pretty great, and far better than the last single’s, which is odd. “Ultranol” is a Who-ish banging-piano-led advertisement for a new wonder drug (the verses are lists of all the things it cures), though the chorus is the weakest part. “No Monsters In Me” would have been the most rockiest rock song on TGE if it had made it, all led by insistent guitars, usually a growly distorted one and a wailing, hooky one. Plus, it reminds of camp games at my old YMCA. I’m so sleepy from participating in this research study. This morning I found I’ve been scooped by Jonathan Franzen on a key idea, it’s really getting me down.

You know what else gets me down? The other five songs on this single. The “Live It!” remix of “Entertain Me” is no good because it was an annoying song to begin with and making it a seven-minute “club” song by virtue of adding a club beat does not, in fact, make it likely to be played in Camden. Then the four “live” tracks, which are actually in-studio tracks, and the band just plays four tracks from the recent album as close to note-for-note as they can. Yawn. Still, two really solid B-sides, one great A-side, and four boring versions of good songs.

6 / 10

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