The Universal - Blur (1995)
If we could but journey back to those care-free days when Britpop ruled the world! As much as Oasis was the mid-nineties Beatles and Pulp were The Who, Blur was some strange lovechild of The Stones' swagger and The Kinks' overt "English"ness. Their greatest hits, released here in the States in 2000, showed us just what we'd been missing, letting us know that the band was so much more than "Song #2". "The Universal" will be forever tied to its Stanley Kubrick-inspired video, but for those of us that heard the song first, there was no getting away from that motif. It is a ballad of distance from the not-too-distant space age musings of a previous age. It is Ziggy Stardust as a lounge singer. It is flawless, and is the perfect conglomeration of everything Damon Albarn was at that point in his career. Yet, like Bowie himself, it gave no hint of the future flights of brilliance he would lead us on long after the fall of both the other bands that filled out the second coming of the British Rock Triumvirate.
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