366 Songs 276: Strange News From Another Star

Coming late into the Blur album that saw Damon Albarn et al abandon the Britpop sound for something more influenced by British music of the 1970s than that of the ’60s (People at the time pointed to an American Alternative Rock influence, but this is David Bowie through and through), “Strange News From Another Star” is a song that sounds as delicate as the lyrics suggest (“I don’t believe in me/I don’t believe in me/All I’ve ever done is tame/Will you love me all the same?/Will you love me though it’s always the same?”). The album version of the song is almost determinately oppressive and dehumanizing, with the synthetic noises broken with the acoustic guitar only occasionally, sounding like a retro-future where the good guys lost, but I have long preferred this live version, performed solo by Albarn:

It’s far, far more melancholy than the original, but also prettier; it feels more hopeful than defeated, as if the news is strange now, but not necessarily permanently, and not necessarily the end of everything. “I’m lost, I’m lost” Albarn sings, but there’s a feeling in this performance that he could be found before too long.

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