The Selfish Giant

Album: Everyday Robots (2014)

Songfacts®:

  • Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes sings a ghostly echo of Albarn's voice on this narrative of a night spent at Dunoon in Scotland. Khan supported Albarn's band Blur in 2013 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Dunoon used to be a nuclear submarine base. Albarn recalled to The Sun: "Blur did a gig there. It was a ghostly place, shrouded in melancholy and had seen better days."
  • The ballad references Argyll Street, Dunoon's main street.
  • Albarn admits on the chorus that, "It's hard to be a lover when the TV's on and nothing is in your eyes." He told The Sun: "(The lyric) might seem like a domestic thing, but it was the idea of someone heading out of those dark locks into the Atlantic on a nuclear submarine with the glow of the monitors."
  • Albarn didn't want to keep the "hard to be a lover when the TV's on" line, but his producer Richard Russell was adamant. He told Q magazine: "I was like, 'I can't. I just can't.' But credit to Richard, because I would have lost it and it is a good line. At the time it felt harsh on everyone though. I love telly! It's just those moments when you're staring into the void thinking, 'What am I doing with my life?'"
  • Speaking about working with XL Recordings owner Richard Russell on the Everyday Robots album, Albarn told Rolling Stone: "In an ironic way, it's sort of the most collaborative record I've ever done when it comes to songwriting. Some of the songs just came from the two of us experimenting in the studio."

    Russell handled the drum programming while Albarn took on the singing, piano and guitar parts. "We did it in just three months at my studio," he said. "We'd work five days a week, 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.

Donald FagenSongwriter Interviews

Fagen talks about how the Steely Dan songwriting strategy has changed over the years, and explains why you don't hear many covers of their songs.

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: Tarantino EditionMusic Quiz

Whether he's splitting ears or burning Nazis, Quentin Tarantino uses memorable music in his films. See if you can match the song to the scene.

Edwin McCainSongwriter Interviews

"I'll Be" was what Edwin called his "Hail Mary" song. He says it proves "intention of the songwriter is 180 degrees from potential interpretation by an audience."