If this turns out to be Blur’s last ever b-side they’ve at least finished in style on that particular front. Co-written with Graham Coxon, it’s the sound of Blur evolving into something completely different, as opposed to Damon doing whatever he wants like much of Think Tank (a great album, but not a band album). It, along with “Battery In Your Leg” and “The Outsider”, makes you wonder how the album could’ve turned out had the band remained a foursome. “Morricone” does that even more than those two songs perhaps, because it combines Damon’s interests in African music with Graham’s trademark exceptional fretwork. The slightly mocking backing vocals are the cherry in the meantime. What any of this has to do with Ennio Morricone, after whom I presume the song’s been called, is a mystery, but it makes a change from calling it “Song 2”, “Good Song”, “Sweet Song” or “A Song”.

Published in: on August 20, 2008 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Sub Species Of An American Day

As far as albums built from demo’s go, Democrazy, isn’t quite up there with Nebraska. Recorded while Blur was touring in support of Think Tank, here were a bunch of songs that were just a bit too unfinished, but the fact that the release was limited to 5,000 vinyl copies suggests that its creator understood how big the album’s importance in the grand scheme of things is.

One of these songs, “Sub Species Of An American Day” appears to have been develloped into a bona fide Blur song when the band reunited towards the end of 2005. It remains a guess if the result sounds anything like the demo, as Damon’s described the music during those sessions as punky and brash, while the 2003 effort sounds only a few steps short of a Gorillaz song. Having said that, it’s easy to imagine the last twenty seconds, with its increasing of both speed and volume, would make excellent cacaphony if assisted by guitars, bass and drums.

Published in: on August 21, 2007 at 10:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Kissin’ Time

“Sort of about Damon, and sort of about me” – Marianne Faithfull

I’ve tried writing about this song on a few previous occasions, only to be out of words within a few sentences. One approach was an introductory paragraph, detailing Alex James’ friendship with Marianne Faithfull as described in his autobiography Bit of a Blur, but so what if he tried to snog her and she refused. I feel a bit like Woody Allen’s character at the start of Manhattan. Maybe I should point out how ironic it is that the best Blursong of the past seven or eight years is not on a Blur album? Or that this is as good an indication as any of how Think Tank might have sounded had Graham not left? It’s got all of that album’s elements (sounding in need of a little oil, yet having an undeniable groove at the same time), but with someone who can actually play the guitar playing guitar… No wait, maybe I should begin by stating how effortlessly sexy Marianne Faithfull’s voice sounds after all these decades, like a female Bob Dylan in a world full of Minnie Riperton or Nina Hagen wannabees.

Nah, I’ll just steal a quote from Wikipedia, throw all these random thoughts into one paragraph and express my complete incomprehension this was never a single.

Published in: on July 27, 2007 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Some Glad Morning

Working title: “Chicken & Fries”.

Recorded during the Think Tank sessions before Graham had left the band, “Some Glad Morning” remained unreleased until December 2005 when a CD of it was the fanclub’s Christmas gift to their members. It’s a weird one, that to me sounds a bit like Beck remixing The Beatles’ “Blue Jay Way” with Talking Heads providing some additional vocals. It’s also reminiscent of the band’s thrilling collaboration with Marianne Faithful, “Kissin’ Time”, and even if it doesn’t reach the stellar highs that said song does, it’s a worthy contribution to the band’s increasingly eclectic catalogue.

Published in: on July 6, 2007 at 11:46 am  Comments (1)  

Money Makes Me Crazy

One frustration about Blur’s three 2003 singles is that, at least where I am, they were only available as DVDs. While it’s nice to be able to play video’s as good as “Out Of Time” and “Good Song” any time I want, they proved to be a bit of a pain. I don’t want to switch on my DVD player and go through menu’s when all I want to do is listen to a damn b-side. And don’t get me started on ripping them for my iPod!

The Marrakech Mix of “Money Makes Me Crazy” appeared on “Out Of Time”, and is somewhat similar to Cornershop’s “Brimful Of Asha” (the “My Sharona” of the 1990’s, and I don’t mean that as a compliment). Bonedry guitars, weird soundeffects (that don’t really add much) and a groove that could be but will not be danced to. Better, but only slightly, is the Deepest Darkest Devon Mix, which can be found on festival celebrating compilation Benicassim 2003. It’s not awful, and maybe it would’ve sounded better if it was coupled with “Crazy Beat” instead of the mighty “Out Of Time”, but (unlike three excellent other b-sides from the period) they were right not including the song on Think Tank. Then again, an awful lot of Blurfans seem to love it… the ones that either love or don’t remember Cornershop?

Published in: on June 18, 2007 at 11:28 am  Comments (5)  

Elton John’s Cock

Little is known about this deliciously titled song that was recorded during the Think Tank sessions. It was excluded from inclusion at an early stage and presumably deleted altogether, so we might never know whether it’s about Elton’s favourite pet/bodypart, or if reporters reporting overlooked the title’s indefinite article (an easy mistake to make).

Published in: on May 31, 2007 at 1:14 pm  Comments (1)