Trouble In The Message Centre

When in 2007 some mysterious fellow named demodude leaked some 1993 Parklife demo’s onto the net, Blurfans were understandably excited. It had been a very long time since we had heard anything new. What the demo’s proved was that at the time the band knew exactly what they were doing. The released versions didn’t differ too much from the infant installments, and when they did they benefitted from the additional work, with the possible exception of Alex’s “Far Out”.

The biggest improvement was made on “Trouble In The Message Centre”, or “Trouble” as the working title appears to have been (at least, that’s how the track was tagged, and as there is no mention of centres, message or otherwise, in the original lyrics I’m assuming this to be a case of correct tagging). Most of the published version was already in place, but without the synths toying with the main melody and awkward lyrics about someone with no personality, the demo misses anything resembling a drive to grab a listener’s attention.

New lyrics were written around the 1993 holiday season, if Parklife‘s booklet, where the words written on a hotel bill were reprinted (as was Kevin Godley’s phone number… he was in the running to produce the video for “Girls & Boys”, and had to change his number shortly after the release of Parklife). The lyrics are said to have been inspired by the keys on the hotel telephone, while the line about just striking it “softly away from the body” came from a book of matches next to the phone. The former is presumably true, but I doubt the latter statement due to the fact that said line was present in the demo version too, albeit far less effectively so.

However, as is often the case in Blur’s discography, it’s wordless vocals that make the song immediately catchy. Simple it may seem, but it’s harder to come up with an original and catchy la-la-sequence than the stream-of-consciousness rubbish or 6th form poetry that are too often confused with depth and poetry.

Strangely enough producer Stephen Street didn’t like this song. Maybe producing The Cranberries had affected his judgement a little. Just listening to their music for 2 minutes is like having a flock of dementors flying over at close range. One can onl imagine the horror of being holed up with them at Azkaban studio’s in Limerick for a few months

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Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 5:00 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Any ideas where one might download these demos now? I had a look around the net and could only find four of them.

    David.

  2. […] days. Still haven’t gotten tired of listening to this album. Still this album help made BLUR become a household name in the UK. In case you are living under a rock, the members are Damon […]

  3. […] days. Still haven’t gotten tired of listening to this album. Still this album help made BLUR become a household name in the UK. In case you are living under a rock, the members are Damon […]


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