That clever-clever Clockwork Orange video, the voguish thought-control paranoia of the lyric, the clean lines and tuneless faffings of The Great Escape: Blur were a funny old mixed bag in 1995. Parklife – half a very good album – gave them too much fame and they didn’t know what to do with it. I don’t know if they intended to skewer it with half-baked songs, but it was a sterling effort.
‘The Universal’ is one of two exceptions, to these ears. It’s singalong (ooh, “ironic” karaoke), has some fine trumpet interludes, satisfying use of strings and it builds to a crescendo rather like the Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Jealousy’.
Junior jumped when the strings came in, but soon relaxed as her dad did his near-legendary violin mime. She did the head-rock again, for a moment resembling a classical cellist, and rounded things off with a few of her favourite lip-smacks like an Albarn relishing his Gorillaz cash.
You can almost hear Graham Coxon sneering that he never liked hits anyway.