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DLC Week of 5/18: Blur and The Bouncing Souls

What do you get when distorted guitar meets undeniable melody? In the case of Blur “Song 2” and The Bouncing Souls “Back To Better” you get two finely crafted rock scorchers that stick with the listener for a while! This new DLC is debuting Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

Blur’s massively popular “Song 2” from their eponymous LP released in 1997 has been baked into the subconscious of virtually anyone on the planet in the years since. Impossibly catchy and absolutely irresistible, the cut had a seismic impact that endures to this day, serving as the soundtrack to parties, sporting events, weddings – you name it – with as much regularity (if not more) as it did 20-plus years ago. “Song 2” is easily one of the band’s biggest worldwide hits, but also the track that sounds the least like the rest of Blur’s catalog. The blaring anthem was intended as a parody of grunge (still wildly popular at the time of recording), but the cheeky UK quartet’s sendup wound up being more enduring and successful than many singles recorded by the more earnest practitioners of the genre. Guitarist Graham Coxon has explained, “We said, ‘Let’s do it really, really fast and really, really noisy and horrible and tell the record label that we want to record it as a single – that’ll scare them to death! They’ll hate it!’ So that’s what we did and they came in and we played to them, giggling… and they were like, ‘Wow, this is excellent!’ Our joke was foiled [laughs].” 

Beginning with Dave Rowntree’s simple, sparse drumbeat (augmented on the verses by Coxon tapping out an off-beat accent on the rim of the rack-tom), we soon hear some jauntily strummed, clean guitar and then it’s off to the races at the 14-second mark, with front-man Damon Albarn delivering that universally recognized chorus over some positively crushing distorted power chords and meaty, buzzy bass courtesy of Alex James. 

The structure of “Song 2” couldn’t be any more simple – and actually contributes to the numerological magic of the track: As the story goes, originally the title was just a placeholder indicating the song’s placement on the album, but in addition to existing as the second cut on the disc, “Song 2” is also comprised of just two verses and two choruses, clocks in at 2:02, and peaked at #2 on the UK charts. Pretty wild, no? 

Whatever the back-story or random “2-related” coincidences, the single remains a quick blast of adrenaline – an undeniable rush of sound – that connects with listeners the world over. As Rowntree has stated, Blur would "never get invited to a festival again" if they don't play "Song 2." Get ready to revisit the catchiest song ever recorded by one of the central figures in the 1990s Britpop movement – that sounds nothing at all like “Britpop!”

The Bouncing Souls’ 2023 album, Ten Stories High – the New Jersey punk icons 12th overall and first in seven years – finds the 30-year vets in fighting form and “Back To Better” is ample proof that some things just get better with age. 

Like many recent recordings, the new disc initially took shape during pandemic-related lockdowns. Looking for inspiration amidst isolation, the Souls began using Patreon, offering a weekly podcast and other content. The band also provided a tier where die-hard fans could get a track custom-written for them. Zoom calls with such folks provided for some deeply personal insight that the group could zero in on and craft a story and melody around. Before they knew it the New Jersey-based quartet had enough new material for an entire LP. The resulting collection serves as a love-letter to their fans and their lives, with lyrics largely outlining the potent restorative powers of music and how feeling part of a community and friendship can get us through tough times. 

Musically, “Back To Better” is a blazing fast punk anthem with hard-hitting drums, crunchy guitars, and powerfully melodic vocals. Charging out of the gate with a lightning-fast drum fill from George Rebelo, volatile guitar and rubbery bass join the party at two seconds in, and Greg Attonito’s instantly recognizable vocals round out the sonic landscape at the 12-second mark. This is peak Bouncing Souls – lots of feelings, lots of melody. Speaking of melody, at :39 we get what these fellas excel at: refrains that instantly grab hold and do not let go. “Get back to better, find your center,” implores Attonito. “Get back together, back to better.” Aside from the frenetic drums, much of “Back To Better”’s raucous energy is courtesy of Pete Steinkopf’s snarling fretwork. After the second chorus, he unleashes a tasty solo that is all attitude and punk sensibility. After that it’s one last gang-vocal run-through of the hooky-as-hell chorus and then, at a succinct 2:10, the track is over (and you’re reaching for the Rewind function). 

This is a fast-paced melodic punk banger that you’ll be revisiting over and over!

The Bouncing Souls “Back To Better” is included in the Season 31 Pass. Snag yours today and enjoy the whole season of DLC. Both are available for $1.99 each.

  • Blur – “Song 2”
  • The Bouncing Souls – “Back To Better”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 5/18: Blur “Song 2” and The Bouncing Souls “Back To Better”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, May 18th.