Top 100 singles of all time: 94 – Blur – To The End

I’m actually going to change my mind on this one. On my original list, I selected To The End by Blur as my 94th choice, but I think they’ve done better songs.

For a start, The Universal is probably my favourite Blur single, and it has some pretty stiff competition. It seems laughable now that Blur and Oasis were pitched by the tabloids into some sort of “battle”: Blur’s homage to The Kinks was note-perfect; Oasis’s Beatles impression was just bad karaoke.

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Then again, I always loved For Tomorrow – a love letter to late-twentieth-century London that struck a chord with me when I was living in the capital in the 90s. I remember shivering on the grass at Primrose Hill, draining a bottle of Jack with one of those boyfriends you get engaged to for about a month and whose name you can’t fully remember the following year, the lyrics to this song echoing around my head.

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or I could have picked End Of A Century, which so perfectly encapsulated that fin de siecle ennui (“end of a century/oh, it’s nothing special”). Considering how obnoxious the single Parklife was, the album it was named for sure had its fair share of classic pop songs. For this one release alone, Blur will always be my not-so-guilty pleasure for unfussy, classic great songwriting.

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Still, I picked To The End, so here’s the video for that. It’s based on the French film Last Year at Marienbad, though the enigmatic subtitles do not appear in the film. The notes on Youtube say that Françoise Hardy provides the backing vocals, though I thought this was the original cut with Laetitia from Stereolab singing the female lines (Ms Hardy’s version was a later re-recording). The song was one of the few not to break the top 10 for the band, reaching number 16 in the UK charts in 1994.

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Hmm. I take it back. This is indeed an uncannily fine track. Perhaps I’ll stick with my original choice after all.

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