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86. Supergrass – St Petersburg



Before this, the last time a piano was used so prominently in a Supergrass single was in Alright, and the difference couldn’t be more stark – like Beck before them, Supergrass was another act to shed its happy-go-lucky persona in the noughties to reveal a fragile, self-reflective side. “Head out to a better life/I can’t stand the here and now,” sings Gaz Coombes (even his Christian name feels awkwardly chipper in this context) in one of the plainest and most resigned vocal performances of his career. The band shuffle behind him inconspicuously, leaving the most expressive work to a hired string section, and the overarching feel of the song is one of acquiescence towards a life that just isn’t as fun as it once was. Ironically, for all the song’s sense of being trapped, Supergrass’ departure from their default settings on St Petersburg actually gave them a new lease of life, earning them new followers. It wasn’t long before they returned to big dumb riffs, but for the duration of this period – and particularly this song – their new-found poignancy was much admired.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 06/10/2009 11:00 pm

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