1. ‘She's So High’
Single, released 15/10/91.
Also on ‘Leisure’, 27/8/91. Produced by Steve Lovell and Steve Power.
Re-named Blur in November 1989 over dinner with Food
Records’ Dave Balfe and Andy Ross at Soho Pizzeria, the
band signed to Food the following March. For their debut
single they returned to the first song they had ever
written together. ‘She’s So High’ had been conceived in
March 1988 as a loose rehearsal jam based around a
four-chord sequence supplied by Alex James, the last
member to join. The sequence - the same for the verses
and chorus - was simplified by Graham who also wrote some
lyrics to the verse while Damon was on holiday in Spain. ‘She’s So High’ remains the band’s most
democratically-written song. Overseen by the former
Julian Cope producer Steve Lovell and his colleague Steve
Power, it was recorded at Battery Studios in Willesdon in
June 1990 during the World Cup.
Progress was slow. The looped bass took two days. The
drums took a week. Lovell and Power doubted their musical
ability - particularly Alex’s - and insisted on
“looping” as much as possible, mechanically
repeating the same one-or-two-bar bass part troughout the
song. But Blur were delighted to be in the same studio as
the Stone Roses had used for ‘Fool’s Gold’. And Alex was
convinced ‘She’s So High’ was destined for number one.
lyrically negligible - a complaint common to much of
Blur’s early material - ‘She’s So High’ is both a
masterful debut and proof positive that emotions in pop
songs need not rely on the vocabulary of the writer.
Simple and ingenuous, it has a ghostly melody and a
daringly unhurried tempo - the only busy sound is the
bass guitar - and in its long middle section, announced
by Graham’s backwards guitar (2.24), the song bursts into
a six-second passage of disconsolate beauty (3.32-3.38).
Before the backwards guitar finally exits - a full 90
seconds later - it has taken the song on a
near-psychedelic excursion without a single note being
wasted or the attention of the listener wavering.
While sluggish in material terms - it only got to number
48 - the song’s artless charm and popularity reserve a
place for it in Blur’s live set even today.