This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #328: Song #2 by Blur.
“Song 2” by “Blur” was the second song on their fifth album (which was self-titled). The song plays for exactly two minutes and two seconds. It peaked at #2 on the UK song charts the year it was released. Although “Blur” are a British band, there is nothing Shakespearean about the lyrics. If you can say, “Woo Hoo!” a bunch of times then, you can sing this song, too.
“Song 2” was never intended to be the title of this song. However, when a band is preparing songs for an album, they often give untitled songs a placeholder-type name which, in the case of “Blur’s” fifth album, meant that, until the second song was written and properly titled, the band simply referred to it as, “Song 2”. But, a funny thing happened on the way to writing this song…..the band was uninspired and didn’t have any really good ideas at the moment. So, the lead singer of “Blur”, Damon Albarn, played a simple tune on the piano that he was goofing around with. Lead guitarist, Graham Coxon, suggested speeding it up and adding some scuzzy guitar, as a joke. The band submitted the song to their record management, expecting it to be rejected but, instead, management thought it was fresh and new-sounding and authorized the band to record it. They asked the band what it was called and, after a few seconds of stammering and stuttering, the band replied that, for now, it was simply, “Song 2”. Management thought the title was cheeky and urged them to keep the song as “Song 2” and so it was kept that way.
At the time “Song 2” premiered, in the mid-1990s, the UK music scene was in a reactive mode due to the larger-than-expected impact of Grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden from the US. So, the UK Music Industry created a counter-scene called, “BritPop”. In essence, the UK Industry came together to counter the US Grunge scene by promoting rivalries between several UK bands such as “Oasis”, “Blur”, “Pulp” and “Suede”. “Pulp” and “Suede” didn’t really wish to be involved in any manufactured rivalries but, “Oasis” and “Blur” sure did. There were many polls issued as to who the better band was: “Oasis” or “Blur”? Even the UK Prime Minister and Opposition leaders took sides. But, in the end, despite having several hit songs such as “Girls and Boys”, “Country House”, “BeetleBum” and “Song 2” and despite winning several “Brit Awards” for “Group of the Year” or “Album of the Year”, “Blur” never really translated any of that national success onto North America or elsewhere in the world. Funny thing was that they weren’t really unhappy about that, either. “Blur” had one North American tour and ended up homesick and unhappy the whole time. It seems that, at their core, they were a band that really enjoyed being a British and playing and living in the UK.
That is fine, I suppose. After a few years, the manufactured “Brit Pop” scene gave way to a more pure Pop scene that involved bands such as “The Spice Girls”, “Robbie Williams” and so on. “Blur” has continued to break-up/reunite and then, release new material but, they will always be best known for a two-minute, two-second song that starts out, “Woo Hoo!” and was meant as a joke.
Here are “Blur” with “Song 2”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Song 2” by Blur, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Blur, can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for playing BritPop, Synth-Pop and regular old, Pop, too. The link to their website ca be found here.