366 Songs 011: Dan Abnormal

Of all the albums Blur put out, The Great Escape is far from one of my favorites, and of all the songs on The Great Escape, “Dan Abnormal” is far from the best song on there. And yet, it’s been stuck in my head over the last few days, and when I listen to it to try and exorcize it from my mind, I realize that there’s a lot I really do like about it after all.

Despite it’s brittle upbeat sound (It’s the “La la la la”s, I think), this is a weirdly dark, violent song (“I want McNormal and chips/Or I’ll blow you to bits,” anyone?) that gets even stranger when you realize that “Dan Abnormal” is songwriter Damon Albarn’s name as an anagram, and also the psuedonym he’s used when guesting on other people’s records. I’ve never quite worked out if this was a song of self-hatred, or just using a name that was available and writing something around it. But it’s a song that really dislikes its star, unlike so many other Blur songs of the period – although there are more on The Great Escape than other Blur albums – and so there’s been a weird edge to it that makes me wonder if there’s more to it than meets the eye.