When: April 1997
Where: My family’s den
In 1997, Britain invaded the United States. I can remember to this day the jealousy I felt as every girl in my class fell head over heels for Hugh Grant; the Spice Girls were viewed as a fresh new voice; and Mike Myers had brought in a fresh new stereotype from Canada that Englishmen had bad teeth.
Britpop was making waves, but the genre was nearly dead when Damon Albarn of Blur expressed regret of their deeply autobiographical release, The Great Escape. Instead, he handed the reigns of the band to guitarist Graham Coxon, who used the opportunity to give life– possibly unintentionally– to a new, old genre. Before the Strokes, and the Hives, and the other The bands (about which much more later), there was the self-titled album Blur.
This particular track was claimed to have been created as a parody of grunge, which critics and audiences across the pond always hated. And with this claim in mind, it irked Albarn to no end to hear it blaring out of SUVs in Arizona.
But listening to the album, it’s clearly Coxon’s baby; “Song 2” fits in perfectly with the other tracks, and its easy to listen and hear bands that haven’t come into being yet. But in April of 1997, there was no pretense for the child watching a PBS promo on a sunday night, with this song.
Next: The Britons continue to dominate in an unexpected way with The Verve
When: April 1991
Where: My dad’s ’88 Corolla (radio tuned to KROQ-FM)
Who: My mom
The first time I heard this song, my uncle Jay was still referring to me as “The Baby,” so excuse me for what happened next.
“There’s No Other Way” by Blur has the honor of being the first song ever to get stuck in my head. After 1991, I never heard it. Which is why, after a while, I became convinced that I’d invented it. All I remembered of that song was Graham Coxon’s iconic opening riff. No lyrics, no band name, no information to speak of from the DJ.
Flash forward to February 2009. Things weren’t going so well at college, and I decided to get into Blur. I downloaded their first album, Leisure, from back in their shoegaze days and I play the first song, which is kind of long, so I skipped to the second track. What happened at that moment was the best possible outcome of this long, impossible situation. The very next thing I did was enter it into the playlist.
My teaser for this article was “What do you do when a song gets stuck in your head for 18 years, and you don’t know the name of the song, the artist, or the lyrics?” The answer unfortunately is nothing. I came across this song out of dumb luck. And it isn’t the only one I’ve had this problem with. Sadly, humming into your computer microphone will not get you very far.
Note: Certain memories are stronger than others, and as such I tend to focus on the song itself when it’s weak.
Next: The People vs. U2