July 2, 2012

Song Review: Blur's "Under the Westway"

Whether or not Blur will ever put out another album or commit to staying together is everyone but Damon Albarn's guess, but if there's anything we've learned since the original lineup including estranged guitarist Graham Coxon reassembled in 2009, it's that timing is everything. Aside from the 2010 Record Store Day single "Fool's Day," listeners have been left with little new material to contend with that might suggest the best case scenario when it comes to their future, yet with their home country playing host to this year's Summer Olympics alongside being named the well-deserved headliners of the "Best of British" closing ceremony celebration concert at Hyde Park, the seminal Brit-pop rockers are fanning flames again with the new single written for the event, "Under the Westway." Melancholy, somewhat pessimistic and spiritual in classic Blur form, a slow siren and a hymnal of backing vocals sit behind Albarn and his dim-lit piano as he paints the portrait of an atypical British scene where the skies are blue instead of grey, and everything just looks dandy from the ground as the narrator peers upward. By verse two, he's mucking along through a mundane daily life, avoiding brainwashing attempts of the media and the false sense of communication he has with other humans. When appropriated in the right context, you kind of see where exactly Albarn is placing his jabs, but ultimately, "Under the Westway" ends with an optimistic ode to love and a simple "hallelujah." Whether or not Albarn utters those final words in earnest isn't the point, as this is more about saying the right things at the right time. Blur may not have been hand-picked to write the Olympic's official theme, but AS likes to think of "Under the Westway" as their unofficial, appropriately cheeky answer to the upcoming month in that it takes aim at the all-too-short and false sense of celebration the world engages in once the torch is lit, while still kind of hoping someone out there might be genuine in their applause.

Blur - "Under the Westway"

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