Originally posted on Some Good Songs.
“No Distance Left to Run” isn’t Blur’s best song. That honor, in this writer’s humble opinion, belongs to “Tender,” [s] [am] which opens Blur’s 13, a very moody, disjointed, spacey, and often times lackadaisical record that simultaneously ranks among the best pieces of work released by the best Britpop group.
Both songs are about getting through the motions of a very specific breakup (singer Damon Albarn’s split with Elastica’s Justine Frischmann), and are thus a bit dour in nature. Heartbreak, loneliness, going through the motions of life, and all things pertaining to are a recurring theme on 13, and bookending the record with two beautifully sung pop- and soul-influenced songs about love lost really drives that home.
“Why not focus on ‘Tender’, then?” you might ask yourself. First, it’s one of the best songs of all time, and “this is a newsletter about good songs,” I could cheekily retort. Also, I talk about “Tender” all the friggin time, even in the short-ish tenure of this newsletter. “No Distance Left to Run” is the perfect compliment to “Tender” because, by the time you reach it on the record, you’ve sat through nearly an hour of varying emotions Damon, Graham, and company went through and now you’re at the ass end of it. You had time to process “Tender,” “Coffee & TV,” and the random, slow chaos of 13 before the song sees you off for good. It’s the perfect close for an imperfect album, far from the upbeat, coke-addled chaos of the band’s Britpop peak, cementing their status as some of the best songwriters in the land.
Oasis couldn’t write anything nearly as nuanced as “No Distance Left to Run.” Nuance to Oasis is ripping off a British Invasion group and dining out on it for at least a couple of decades. I have nothing nice to say about Oasis and, though they served as a great foil at the time for Blur, anyone with ears and half a brain can tell the difference in quality and craftsmanship between Blur and Oasis.
So, yes, this is not the best Blur song. It’s still a fantastic song, one I’ve been singing in the kitchen for the last week, and one that hopefully comforts you as the winds pick up, the leaves change color, the nights sweep in sooner than expected, and something weighing on your soul needs a soundtrack, if not just for a few minutes.