Pyongyang
by Blur

Album: The Magic Whip (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was inspired by a trip that vocalist Damon Albarn made to the North Korean capital in 2014. Talking to GQ in 2014 about his visit to Pyongyang, Albarn likened it to a "Magic Kingdom, in the sense that everyone is under a spell."
  • Guitarist Graham Coxon wrote the music with producer Stephen Street. He recalled to NME: "It started off as a really bleak dirge, with those little ding-ding-ding bells and what sounds like a train pulling away. It's got that massive chorus now, but when Steve and I were working on it – there was no chorus in place, no vocal, so I came up with one to fill the gap."

    "Later, when Damon came back, he'd written one of his own – his was better, of course, but you can still hear mine at the end, overlapping with his. It's actually a very simple song, but it sounds epic – when Damon hits at high note in the chorus, it's one of those big moments."
  • Damon Albarn told The Sun about the song. "It's about the day I spent visiting the mausoleum of the Great Leaders and the trees were talking to me," he said. "That's what I call propaganda!"

    "The noise from the trees is gentle and there's music," Albarn added. "It's disconcerting because you can't see the speakers, unless there's a species of North Korean tree that actually speaks."

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