Under the Westway
|"Under the Westway"|
|Single by Blur|
|Released||2 July 2012|
|Format||7", CD, download|
|Recorded||March 2012 |
|Blur singles chronology|
"Under the Westway" is a single by English band Blur, released in July 2012. After being played by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon at Brixton Academy as part of a charity performance for War Child, speculation rose as to "Under the Westway"'s release. On 25 June 2012, it was announced on Blur's Twitter account that the track would be performed live by the band via a live stream and released for download shortly after, with Albarn stating "I wrote these songs for [the upcoming Hyde Park show] and I’m really excited about getting out there and playing them for people." The single was released as a download-only release on 2 July 2012, accompanied by "The Puritan", and received a physical release in August. The song also made its radio debut on Steve Lamacq's BBC Radio 6 Music show on the same day. It is the band's first single since 2010's "Fool's Day". An early mix of the song is included on the Blur 21 box set.
The performances of "Under the Westway" and "The Puritan" on 2 July are the first live performances of new material by the whole band since 30 January 1999, when all four members played a fan-club only concert at Finchley Arts Depot, London. That was at the start of the 13 tour, in which all songs from that album bar two were premiered.
"Under the Westway" debuted at #34 on the UK Singles Chart on download sales alone. Discounting limited releases which did not chart, "Under The Westway" was Blur's lowest peak placement since their debut single, "She's So High". The low positioning was likely aided by a lack of significant publicity and corresponding album release. "Under The Westway" also reached #54 in the Ireland Singles Chart. When the song was eventually released in a physical format in August, bounced back up the charts from #117 to #45. It was also a hit in the French Charts at #120.
The Westway, part of the A40, is a major road in west London which is elevated on concrete structures over the surrounding streets. It was referenced in the lyrics of Blur's 1993 single For Tomorrow, and their 2010 single Fool's Day.
Upon hearing the song, the public and critics suggested influences ranging from The Beatles' Hey Jude to David Bowie. Bass player Alex James told the BBC afterwards it was "a classic Blur ballad" and "a stand still and cry your eyes out sort of job".
Priya Elan of the New Musical Express wrote that "Albarn’s acting school/musicals influence shows itself on ‘Under The Westway’. Unbothered by any pan-global musical influences, or snarky cartoon characters making an appearance, this is a mournful piano ballad. We find Damon plodding away, in the style of his hero Ray Davies, or Rufus Wainwright." "The man who has, throughout his lyric writing career, sneered at technological progress, longs for a simpler time. “Give us the day, they switch off the machines,” he pleads. Still, there’s a sense that whilst not quite an ‘Olympic spirit’, Damon has found his London lover once again. "It was bright day in my city today," he sings proudly before mentioning that he was, "watching comets" from his smoggy locale." The review went on to claim the track was "one of the finest songs they've ever written, and certainly one of the saddest." 'Under The Westway' placed third in NME's 'Best Tracks of 2012', while Pitchfork Media named it on their 'Top 100 Tracks of 2012' list.
All songs written and composed by Blur.
|1.||"Under the Westway"||4:16|
|1.||"Under the Westway"||4:16|
|2.||"Under the Westway" (acoustic)||4:04|
|3.||"Under the Westway" (instrumental)||4:17|
|5.||"The Puritan" (instrumental)||3:26|
|Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)||10|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||34|
- Damon Albarn: Lead Vocals, Piano
- Graham Coxon: Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Alex James: Bass Guitar
- Mike Smith: Xylophone
- Dave Rowntree: Drums
- "Blur to debut two new songs on live Twitter video stream". NME. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Blur to play live on Twitter". The Independent (London). 25 June 2012.
- "British chart positions". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05. Retrieved July 2012.
- "Blur debut new tracks at Twitter gig". BBC News. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Elan, Priya (2 July 2012). "Blur, 'Under The Westway'". NME. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Ultratop.be – Blur – Under The Westway" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
- "Lescharts.com – Blur – Under The Westway" (in French). Les classement single.
- "July 2012/ Archive Chart: 14 July 2012" UK Singles Chart.