Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Daily Jam - Sing

In honor of the Blur at Coachella discourse currently going on over on social media, here's a column about a Blur song i wrote seven years ago.

I love, love, love a good soundtrack, though that means something completely different now than it did when I was a teenager. My typical soundtrack of choice now is a good film score, old or new, touching on a number of different genres from classical to synth to ambient to surf rock to psychedelia and so on. Classics from Morricone or Carpenter file right in with the more obscure bonkers stuff from old Italian composers, 80’s synth nerds, and younger upstarts alike. But this vinyl film score fetishism is still a relatively recent development on my part, an effect of the increasingly amazing output of record labels like Mondo, Death Waltz, Waxwork, and the like. As a dumb teenager, I was far more into soundtrack collections of pop songs featured in the films. Things like the goth-tinged alt-rock explosion of The Crow, the too-cool-for-school underground lo-fi jams from Kids, the polished and glittered glam and drama of Romeo and Juliet, or the schizophrenic sonic kaleidoscope of Natural Born Killers were all go-to albums for me, some working as vehicles for artists or labels, and others as pieces of collage art in their own rights. But the apex of this soundtrack love is the amazing and essential music from Trainspotting, a film and album that checked in at just the right time, capitalizing on the cultural zeitgeist that was Britpop and turning a young kid in the arid desert of west Texas into an avid fan.

Featuring an array of music from 90’s Britpop bands, electronic artists, and classics from Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, and more, I could easily listen to the record all day everyday. Honestly, I probably should just do that later tonight, but for now, let’s focus on a kind of obscure, but absolutely transcendent track from Britpop stalwarts Blur. Originally recorded for the band’s debut album Leisure, “Sing” somewhat surprisingly ended up missing the cut, though it has surfaced on later re-pressings and expanded anniversary editions of the record. Beautiful and dreamlike, the song nods along, a delirious mix of piano, rhythmic drums, reverb, and Damon Albarn’s floating vocals. It’s kind of shoegazey, kind of dream-poppy, and totally hypnotic. Cynically, of course a song like “Sing” is going to soundtrack a film about heroin abusers, but it’s just too lush and gorgeous to fall into that attitude. And it’s easily one of the top ten things the band ever produced. I just want to close my eyes and let my body float away.

Sing to me.

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