Breaking down songs to celebrate individual moments of brilliance.

Part 1: Graham Coxon (Blur)

My Terracotta Heart (The Magic Whip)

The highlight of The Magic Whip in my humble opinion, ‘Terracotta Heart’ sees Damon’s heart-wrenching lyrics matched perfectly by Coxon’s plaintive playing, starting with the arpeggios and bends in the intro and verses, to the harmonic licks and descending runs of the chorus. Truly beautiful stuff.

Guitarist Graham Coxon in Tokyo, March 1992. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

Death Of A Party (Blur)

Lots going on here: distorted chug in the intro, effect-laden squeals in the verses, then the highlight in the chorus, where his riff works as a stunning counter-melody to Damon’s vocals. A masterclass in playing the right things at the right times to bring maximum impact to the song.

You’re So Great (Blur)

It’s all about the slide solo here, its slickness contrasting brilliantly with the low-fi rhythm guitar and vocal production to bring the extra dimension the song really needs to make it memorable.

Trouble In The Message Centre (Parklife)

Some of Coxon’s best evert rhythm playing here – his understated distorted chords embellished with the occasional flourish to keep the interest. Another example of how his ethos is less is more, and the aim is always to serve whatever the song requires.

Blur posing under London’s Westway, 1995. From left to right, bassist Alex James, guitarist Graham Coxon, singer Damon Albarn and drummer Dave Rowntree. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

Coffee And TV (13)

Coxon’s rhythm playing is superb, as usual: never content to simply bash out chords like other mere mortals, the verses are full of little flourishes that lift the song. The solo is possibly his most bugged-out and wonderfully weird of all, certainly if we include the series of mini-solos just before and during the fade-out, each one more surprising, bizarre, and delightful than the last. The man could shred if he wanted to, but that’s just too formulaic for him.

Honorable mention
– Trimm Trabb (13)

A pretty basic one, but the moment when that electric guitar comes in just before the 3 minute mark is exquisite and has become a highlight of live shows.