SOTD: ‘Country House’ by Blur

Blur vs. Oasis.

It’s one of the most heated rivalries in music history. Everyone has an opinion, and usually, it’s a very passionate one. The two bands defined the Britpop movement of the 90s with chart wars and media-driven hatred. The press started pinning the two against each other in 1994, and it wasn’t long before the rivalry exploded to extreme levels.

The height of the feud came in 1995 when the storied “Battle of Britpop” saw a clash between two singles: Blur’s “Country House” and Oasis’ “Roll With It,” both released on August 14. Blur was originally scheduled to drop their single the week after, but they didn’t want Oasis to have a chance at getting the No. 1 single that week, so naturally, they moved the release day up in order to take on the boys from Manchester. Certainly, the band with the most sales would be the victors of Britpop, and thus the superior band.

At the end of the day, it was Blur that landed on top of the charts, selling 274,000 copies to Oasis’ 216,000.

Feelings remained heightened for years to come. Oasis’ Noel Gallagher even went as far as to say, “I hate (Blur members) Alex and Damon. I hope they catch AIDS and die.”

He later apologized for his words, but it’s a good look at just how much resentment was between the bands. Gallagher and Damon Albarn have since made amends, and most recently, Gallagher collaborated with Albarn on the Gorillaz song “We Got The Power,” which you can watch a performance of here:

Brother and fellow Oasis member Liam Gallagher may still be holding grudges, but from the looks of it, the rivalry is over, at least for most of those involved. To the fans, though, the fire will burn forever.

That brings us to the Song of the Day: “Country House” by Blur.

In a RedditAMA for Dazed Digital three years ago, Albarn admitted his feelings for both “Country House” and “Roll With It,” saying, “They were both sh*t.”

I would disagree. At least about the first song.

“Country House” is fun. It’s not complex or deeply meaningful, but it’s a good novelty track. It’s about a guy who moves out to a house in the country. Gripping stuff. But the reasons for why he’s leaving the city make for some quality lines, including my personal favorite: “I’m a professional cynic, but my heart’s not in it.”

The music video starts with the band playing a game called “Escape from the Rat Race” in an apartment, until they are transported into a real-life version of the game in a house in the countryside. Here we see things like bassist Alex Smith riding a pig and Albarn singing from a bathtub while girls pour more water on him. There’s even a pastiche to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was nominated for Best Video at the 1996 BRIT Awards. Who beat them out for the title? You guessed it: Oasis with their massive hit, “Wonderwall.”

Fans of Albarn’s Gorillaz may not be familiar with his origins, but they should be. Blur, while producing a completely different sound from the animated group, created some incredible songs and paved the way for many bands you love today. Blur has even been credited with influencing bands like My Chemical Romance, Coldplay and Vampire Weekend. If you love those groups or the Gorillaz, you’ll love Blur. And basically anything Albarn does. The man is a genius.

Full disclosure, in the eyes of Alternative Echo, Blur will always reign supreme (big surprise).

So for all you Oasis fans out there, you can keep “Wonderwall.” We’ll be just fine with “Coffee and TV.” And obviously, our SOTD.

Featured image taken from the “Blur – Country House” video via emimusic (with some editing by Nicole Metzler).

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