The Universal (3:58)

Cover of The Great Escape

From The Great Escape and 54 other releases

The Universal is a song by band Blur and is featured on their fourth studio album, The Great Escape. It was released 13 November as the second single from that album, charting at #5 in the UK Singles Chart.

The song has been used on TV advertisements for British Gas since 2009 (although it never re-entered the top 40).

In keeping with the song’s science fiction theme, the single’s cover art is an allusion to the opening shot of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the music video is a tribute to the movie A Clockwork Orange, with the band dressed up in costumes similar to Alex and his droogs. Both movies were directed by Stanley Kubrick.

The song has increased in stature since its release; this is proved by it being voted second best of all Blur singles on’s Singles Vote. In addition, on Rate Your Music the song is often in the Top 25 for 1995 as well as being in the Top 500 of all time.

The highly-acclaimed music video for the song was directed by Jonathan Glazer. The band is presented in imitation of the opening scenes from the film A Clockwork Orange, in the milk bar. Blur star as the quasi-Droogs, complete with Damon Albarn wearing eyeliner similar to the film. They perform in the bar in all-white.

The bar patrons consist of different groups; a lone female entertains male business colleagues by exploiting their sexual interest in her; two odd men entirely coloured red and blue conduct a stilted (subtitled) conversation; and two male colleagues – one of them in a priest in a vicar’s dog collar – become increasingly drunk on cocktails


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