Young & Lovely

Unlike, to name a few, Oasis, Suede, The Smiths and Kenickie, Blur aren’t often mentioned as a band whose b-sides are as good (or even better) than their album tracks. Part of the blame can be laid with the band themselves; they’ve tossed a fair few near-turds, remixes, live-recordings and inconcequential instrumentals onto their singles, especially during the Parklife era. All these threaten to overshadow the fact that a fabulous 2-disc set of b-sides to compete with Louder Than Bombs, Sci-Fi Lullabies or The Masterplan could easily be compiled. Hell, it would beat any of them.

Let’s not shit ourselves to state it;  Young & Lovely” is the best of the bunch. Everyone who’s heard it, from fans to band, and people from other bands to Food Records, agrees it should have been on Modern Life Is Rubbish. But, in the words of Damon, “it didn’t get on there and fucking “Turn It Up” did”.

Everything on the track is perfect. A “Beetlebum”-like pace with drums and bass forming an incredibly solid base for Graham to hammer-on on top of. Beautiful melodies that take more unexpected, yet unforced, twists than a great Umberto Eco novel (as opposed to an insane amount of fairly obvious, not-so-unexpected clumsy ones a la The Da-Vinci Code… hello Kaiser Chiefs!), and a lyric about hitting puberty that may be Damon’s sweetest. “Friday’s child” goes out for the first time in his life and is confronted with mannaquins in shop windows that “look far too real at night”, especially when shitfaced.

In short, this song is good enough to have been one of the best songs on any band’s Best Of, and they decided to make it an extra track on “Chemical World”. It’s also a bonus track on the Japanese Modern Life Is Rubbish (along with “Popscene”) in an exercise of making an excellent album super-excellent.

It was played live during the band’s special b-sides gig in September ’99, which contains a lovely Freudian slip by Damon, although in the song’s context it still makes sense; looking at mannequins when drunk can cause one’s bit to be raised.

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Published in: on June 27, 2007 at 10:23 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Fantastic song and always my favorite Blur b-side. In fact when I made a 4-disc compilation for a friend several years ago of the band’s flipsides, that’s what I named the collection.

  2. LOL, funny I also once made a b-sides collection for my sis and gave it that title… only i mistyped it and all of a sudden it was called “Young & Lively”, which, as far as typo’s goes isn’t that awful. only found out after printing so it stayed like that.

  3. I wonder if a Blur B-Sides compilation will ever see the light of day….anyhow, Young & Lovely is undoubtedly the best of the bunch.

  4. Indeed a very good song, and I agree that Blur too should be considered a band whose b-sides often equal its a-sides. Actually I think Chemical World is my favorite single package – I really love all the various b sides that appeared on it (Es Schmecht, My Ark etc.).

    Interestingly (or not so), I too made myself a 4 CD compilation of Blur b-sides and non album tracks, but I called it “Brewed In England” (after the writing on the “Parklife” single).

    And finally – technically there was a Blur b-sides collection released – the Japan only “Special Collector’s Edition”. But I think the track selection on it is very disappointing – could’ve been done much better.

  5. Yeah, I had that collection, but I sold it when the 10th anniversary boxset was released, since I needed the money and I thought that more important than owning a copy of Bank Holiday sung by Japanese fans. But the tracklisting could’ve been much much better, I agree.

    Chemical World I like best for Y&L, and the livetracks, especially Never Clever and Pressure On Julian. Never managed to get into My Ark.

    I think only during the Parklife era they let themselves down on the b-side front… those on Girls & Boys are still quite good, I like Threadneedle Street and Theme From An Imaginary Film, but the rest sounds pretty average. I guess it’s cos they knocked out the album so fast that they didn’t really have many interesting songs left.


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