Album: Merrie Land (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • This was inspired by Damon Albarn's visit to Penrhyn castle, near Bangor, a Victorian stately home overlooking the Menai Strait towards Anglesey.

    Up in the tower that looks out to sea
    The pink dressing room bell
    Of the lady is ringing
    She looks from the shadows
    Out through the stained colours of old grass
    The sorrows of slate and sugar cane are hers


    Built in the 19th century, the property was mocked up to look like a Norman castle from 1066 using the inherited proceeds from slavery in Jamaica. Bassist Paul Simonon explained to Consequence of Sound that the building "came to represent misery to the local people of that town. Even today they have dark memories of it, this haunted building on top of the hill."
  • Damon Albarn got the song title, Lady Boston, from one of the numerous portraits adorning the castle walls. "There was a face which looked slightly detached," he told The Sun. "I was really drawn to her. The colour of her skin was subtly different. Maybe she came from the colonies and I'd like to know who she was."
  • The band returned to Penrhyn castle to record the finished song. It includes a Welsh-language refrain sung by the Penrhyn male voice choir: "Dwi wrth dy gefn," which roughly translates as, "I've got your back."

    "It has a sense of, 'We rely on each other,'" Albarn told The Guardian. "We live on this stroppy little island, and we need to talk to each other. But have we not just spent the last couple of years going round in circles?"

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