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Song-o-scope: Blur’s “Battery in Your Leg”

with 3 comments

I’m going to go out on a limb and say the last track on Think Tank, Blur’s almost unknown, oddball final album, is possibly one of the band’s most amazing songs. Hear me out.

First, Think Tank itself is a crazy album. Compared to the lush, mega-produced pop fuzz you normally associate with Blur (Song 2, Beetlebum, Death of a Party), Think Tank is a rickety, rattletrap CD that sounds like it was recorded in a barn. (It was.) Combine the clanky, rusty sound with the African vibe injected into a few tracks, and you already have the planet Pluto of rock albums. Then, factor in that this was the album that split the band, since Graham Coxon, the Grand Baron of Awesome Guitarists and one half of Blur’s songwriting factory, left the band in the middle of everything.

Because of this, only one track on the entire album contains any guitar work from Coxon. So take all of the frustration felt by a guitarist at the twilight of his partnership with a band, and shove it all into one guitar track. That guitar track is on “Battery in Your Leg,” the only song Damon Albarn admits to writing about the band itself. To describe the track: the piano, mostly normal. The lyrics, a little bummed out, but normal. The guitar, like a haunting, boiling, infectious disease. The reason I believe this song to be of Blur’s best is simply because it says the most. And half of what it says is completely independent of the lyrics.

P.S. The band’s reunion was recently reported in the news, and apparently there might be plans for US show dates. I’ll definitely keep an eye on that.

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Written by Peter Kimmich

June 6, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Song-o-scope

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Nice post! My friend and I are the only Blur fans I know. I love “Think Tank,” as well as all the other Blur albums and Damon’s other stuff.

    I must admit, though, until just now I haven’t listened to “Battery in My Leg” in years. The reason: in summer, 2003 my family was on our way to my sister-in-law’s wedding on Orcas Island, Washington. Waiting for the ferry at Anacortes, my almost-four-year-old daughter and I walked down to the rocky shore to explore a bit. It was fun, and I took a photo of her on the beach. That photo captured such a special moment; the way she was impishly smiling, the little-girl clothes she was wearing, and the fact that it was just me and her, dad and daughter, made for quite a memorable slice of time and place.

    However, I did not realize any of this until we returned from that trip and I uploaded my photos to my computer. While doing so I was listening to “Think Tank.” I just happened to see that photo at the moment “Battery” started. For some reason the emotion of the song struck a chord (no pun intended) with me as I looked at that photo of my daughter. I realized she’d never be that age again, we’d never have that exact moment again. All I have is that photo. It made me start crying (and indeed I’m tearing up as I write this,) and I’ve never listened to the song again.

    Until today.

    Thanks for the memories, and I agree, that is one incredible song.

    Brent

    July 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    • Yeah, oddly most of the Blur fans I know are also guitarists.

      Glad the song is connected to a good memory. Cheers!

      Peter Kimmich

      July 2, 2009 at 4:07 pm

  2. This is one of my favourite Blur songs. I was at the Leeds festival in 2003 when they played this (after Coxan had left) and I was going nuts. The crowd were like ‘whats this shit?’.

    Kryz

    July 21, 2009 at 12:17 pm


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