Never Ending Internet Mix Tape

a musical exquisite corpse. look it up.

Vol 05 / Trk 01 / Me, White Noise / Blur

In the mid-90s I was enthralled with the glory and pomp of Britpop, and nothing was more British than “Parklife,” Blur’s ode to domestic London narrated by Phil Daniels that was as bright and cheery as a glass of shandy. The next time the band and actor joined forces was in 2003, for this track that was about as far from “Parklife” as you can imagine. The dream of Cool Britannia had been replaced by the reality of life during wartime while the band warped and bent several times along the way. The album was called Think Tank, which Damon Albarn joked once was the first thing George W. Bush does when he wakes up. But it’s equally telling that the album was almost called Darklife.

“Me, White Noise” is a “track zero” from their as-yet-final album and the one that will cement Blur’s ultimate distinction as one of disillusionment with the things that used to bring comfort. The album itself is strange and groovy, so it’s an interesting choice that the band chose to hide this dark, pulsing squalor before the first track proper; it has as much bile as the rest of the album lacks. But it’s not a righteous, unifying fury that Rage Against the Machine brought—it’s an unhinged, noisy anger that disturbs rather than mobilizes.

So here we are: new day, new volume. “Me, White Noise” was, for me, the only real contender for a spoken-word response to Robb’s pick and a way to lead this new batch of tracks into [hopefully] strange new territories. It beats with the heart of a protest song, though not against a figurehead, but against oneself (or perhaps one’s sobriety). As Phil slurs in his best Cockney tone, “This is England, this ain’t America, for fuck’s sake.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

m. joosse

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