When my friends got hooked on heroin there was nothing pretty about it, definitely not as pretty as the 1:50 floating coda of Beetlebum. Largely acknowledged by the band as alluding to the stoned out malaise of addiction, Beetlebum is nonetheless a startling song of contradictions. The scratchy opening riff sounds too short and hard to be of much interest but once Albarn’s starts singing, the song is transported to a different place. The slinky bass hooks you in preparation for the transcendent falsetto chorus break that seems to float above the song’s chaotic musical heart. Whenever I describe this song, floating is the word I come back to – it starts as a claustrophobic crawl and then expands into a soaring dream. Maybe that’s what heroin feels like but I wouldn’t know because it fucking killed my friends so I wasn't stupid enough to try it.