Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 220
Mon. Aug 20, 2012
blur’s Graham Coxon needs to be in the conversation of most memorable British guitarists of the last thirty years. I’m not the only one who believes in Coxon’s greatness, as A Gloucester Guildhall Culture Guide once confirmed, “Noel Gallagher described Graham as the most gifted guitarist of his generation and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood augured, “Anything that has more of Graham’s playing, I’m bound to like.” The very definition of unheralded, Graham Coxon’s sonically cerebral guitar riffs were instrumental to bringing blur’s music to a 21st Century sound as heard on 13. How important is Graham to the sound of blur, Damon Albarn attempt to explain what Coxon means to the band when he said, “It’s difficult to explain, but Graham just makes things sound right. Y’know, he puts a hardness to things that I do that isn’t there otherwise.”
Graham’s guitar and his wacked out genius-like riffs are my favorite sounds from blur. His last furious guitar work on “Battery” is one of his best documented in song. Damon Albarn may be the face and voice but Graham Coxon reflects the rhythmic fire inside the heart of blur. Coxon’s guitar colors give Damon the confident space to explore his personal lyrics in blur’s canvas of song. Damon expressed his admiration of Coxon’s guitar when he said “Graham saves us in a way because people can actually handle Graham. Graham’s got that classic indie kind of quality about him. If we didn’t have Graham in the band, we’d probably end up being Queen or something ridiculous like that.”
Speaking of the ridiculous, originally “Battery in Your Leg” reminded of the Pixar Sci-Fi animated modern day classic Wall-E. Remember the scenes where all the future people fly around in wheelchairs? I imagined they implant batteries in their legs, because their bones are too brittle to move around. But seriously, I love the way Graham literally blows Think Tank’s doors open with his quixotically explosive riffs. What starts off as another tender Albarn ballad quickly morphs into an interstellar sonic exploration trip, making “Battery in Your Leg” my favorite song from Think Tank.
Did you know “Battery in Your Leg” is actually the last and only track on Think Tank to feature Graham? Coxon left before blur during the recording of Think Tank in 2003, as producer Ben Hillier explained when he said, “Graham hadn’t left the band at that point. He came up from rehab for a couple of days, and we did “Battery In Your Leg”. It’s very easy to tell when Graham’s into something. If he’s really fucking angry, then his playing’s really fucking angry. I think he was elated with that song, because it felt like it meant he could carry on in the band. But he very quickly became destructive. It was a relief when he decided to leave, and very sad. It had a very big impact on Damon, especially, because Graham was like a member of his family.”
It started with “Caramel,” “Under The Westway” followed and now with “Battery in Your Leg” I am definitely hooked. The sound of blur has taken over my senses. Although, Sting has been eloquently taken my ears, bending them back to the sounds of yesteryear, but now my focus turns towards the future as my glorious summer continues with this soundtrack of blur. And why wouldn’t they? With Graham Coxon taking the lead, wielding his eccentric guitar riffs, Damon’s crooning universally personal lyrics and Alex’s playing voluminous bass licks as Dave’s reflexive backbeat fulfills the electric promises inside eloquent blur moments like “Battery in Your Leg.”
Featuring the electric axe lifts from Graham Coxon, one of the greatest British guitarist’s of the last thirty years, it’s no surprise that blur has taken over my intention span of song. William Orbit explained it best when he said, “Damon and Graham both believe in the power of transcendence through music.” What are you waiting for, it’s time rediscover the priceless glory of blur. Plug in, “Battery in Your Leg” is definitely a worthy investment for the next profound installment in the soundtrack called your life.