Monday, July 1, 2013

Lyrics (Over)Analysis - Country House By Blur. Is this song a parody of Ray Davies?

George Starostin described “'Country House' is more Ray Davies than anything a la Ray Davies,” however I do think there is a little more to the song than just a Ray Davies rip off.

This song is essentially about a certain phenomenon in psychology where people who are unhappy mistakenly attribute it to the location they are in and that if you were somewhere else you’re problems and your sadness will be gone. In the end it’s just bringing your problems to another locations.

The lyrics of Country House describes a rich successful fella who is unhappy with the busy city life escapes to the rural simplistic of the country. However despite moving to the country, the main character still had to take pills and racking up analyst bills and is still unhappy with his life without knowing why despite changing the environment around him. The character mistaken his unhappiness due to his location rather than the real problem which was his own mind.

So what this has to do with Ray Davies?

Well in my opinion this song is a parody of the romanticism and nostalgia that Ray Davies shown in Village Green Preservation Society album that is pretty much the anthem of the romanticism of rural simplicity and enjoying the quiet life.

Hell isn’t the whole line "Says she's come to no harm on an animal farm in the country" referring to the girl in the "Animal Farm" song in the Village Green Preservation Society album "Little girl, come play beneath my window, Though she's far from home, She is free from harm, And she need not fear, She is by my side, And the sky is wide, So let the sun shine bright, On animal farm, My animal home" We also know that Ray Davies has a song called “House In The Country” as well (which is generally about the protagonist envying a rich person with a house in the country)

I’m thinking that this song is a satire of Ray Davies who is a fairly rich and successful fella and whose lyrics can sometimes be described as professional cynic (at least his later career work). He is tired of the overly bureaucracy of modern life (paying the price of living life at the legal limit) and the idea of him being sick with the “rat race” of the music industry (as demonstrated in the entire Lola album). Ray also complains how the pressure of modern life preying on him can lead to problems of anxiety ("caught in the centuries anxiety") and hell even eating disorders ("he's getting thin" a reference to Skin and Bones perhaps?). Then Ray Davies escapes to the life of rural simplicity which he clearly idealized and romanticised throughout his career. However the message of Country House is that this isn’t going to solve your problems or make you happier with the world around you. This song is essentially mocking the entire lyric philosophy of The Kinks.

I think this song is essentially Albarn deconstructing the philosophy of his favorite artist (he admits that Ray Davies is his favourite songwriter).

I know officially this song was inspired by the record label manager David Balfe who escaped to the country but I can't help think that the "Village Green Preservation Society" album didn't influenced him to took this stance with him as well.

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