Oliver’s Army

“One of the worst things we’ve done” – Damon

Around the time of Modern Life Is Rubbish, Blur recorded three covers (four if you count the unreleased “Video Killed The Radio Star”), ranging in quality from the awful but hilarious to alright but boring. “Oliver’s Army”, released on the charity album Peace Together, falls in the latter category, despite it being the only one of the three that has a cooperative bass player doing what he’s paid to do, albeit reluctantly.

“What’s the point in trying to improve on what you already like? Plus, you only get half the money” – Alex

Blur’s version of Elvis Costello’s 1979 attack on the British Army “targeting disadvantaged young men leaving secondary school” (thanks Wiki) sounds kind of aenemic and flat though. There’s no conviction or anger in Damon’s vocals, Graham’s guitars may have been recorded while he was sleeping, and the Abba-esque piano parts that are the icing of the original’s cake have been ditched altogether. It’s as if the band didn’t want to refuse recording for a good cause, but neither felt like making too much of an effort. The fact that it bears listening to at all is all thanks to Mr. Costello’s composing skills.

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Published in: on July 5, 2007 at 10:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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