Often songs will speak to us across the years, and have a new resonance to what they had when they were first released. ‘Lucky’, from 2000, and ‘Piece Of Me’, 2007, both by Britney Spears, are eerie in light of what has been revealed by the #FreeBritney movement and Britney herself about her Conservatorship, which was appointed in 2008.
Another song which has even more meaning now than it did when it first came out, is ‘Blurry’, which was released byAmerican rock band Puddle Of Mudd on October 16, 2001.
’Blurry’ was written by Puddle Of Mudd frontman Wes Scanlin, who was living in a hotel in Hollywood, having been flown out from his native Kansas City after being signed to Flawless Records by Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. Having only the bare minimum with him, his clothes, and an acoustic guitar, Scanlin was lonely, and missing his home and family.
“’Blurry’ was basically about being flown to freaking Los Angeles and y’know, I didn’t have any friends so they had put me into a hotel room,” Scantlin told American Songwriter. “I didn’t know anybody at all. And I was just missing my family and son, I missed my grandma and stuff.”
When he wasn’t in the studio, he would every morning take a jog down Hollywood Boulevard, but otherwise he was just sitting in his hotel, with every day the same.
The opening lines are a heartbreaking reflection of his emotions:
Everything’s so blurry/ And everyone’s so fake/And everybody’s empty/And everything is so messed up/Preoccupied without you/I cannot live at all/My whole world surrounds you/I stumble, then I crawl.
The chorus which follows takes this despair up a notch:
Can you take it all away?/Can you take it all away?/Well, you shoved it in my face/This pain you gave to me/Can you take it all away?/Can you take it all away?/Well, you shoved it in my face.
It makes sense that a song that’s this intense should speak to Jedward, and why John Grimes should choose to make it an acoustic cover. The duo have not been silent in expressing opinions about the world of entertainment: over the past year or so they’ve commented on “influencers” going to Ibiza during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the general artificiality they promote. They’ve stood up to the likes of Piers Morgan, drawing attention to how he changes his opinion based on where he feels most likely to get attention. More recently, they’ve been especially vocal about the music industry itself, with particular attention given to the X Factor, saying, among other things, that it was their biggest regret having gone on the show, and standing up for those artists who were unable to speak out due to NDAs. Likewise, they made no effort to hide their pleasure at the show finally being given the chop:
Which brings us back to ‘Blurry’. While it was originally written about Scanlin’s initial regret in chasing his dream to Hollywood, it’s easy to see how it could apply to Jedward, who have, thankfully, stayed themselves in an incredibly fake music and entertainment industry. With a career so far spanning 12 years (the pair first auditioned for X Factor in August 2009 and yesterday commemorated 10 years since the release of their second album,’Victory’), they’ve seen it all.
John’s guitar playing continues to serve as an extension of his voice – it’s pretty much become synonymous with him, and his Gibson often features when John and Edward do livestreams on social media. In a way you could say it’s become blurry – but unlike the entertainment industry, John and his guitar, as well as Edward, are anything but fake, empty or messed up: they’re probably the most real people out there. As always, John pours his heart and soul into his cover, perhaps going over his experiences while he was learning the song; it certainly feels that way in his performance. There’s no glitz, no glamour, just John and his guitar, recording directly to his phone. Nothing has been edited into or out of his performance, it’s pure, raw emotion. What you see, and what you hear, is what you get. We always say this about John’s acoustic renditions, that he makes every cover his own: and he certainly does so with his version of ‘Blurry’, which he debuted on Instagram and TikTok late last night.
What do you think about John’s cover of ‘Blurry’? Let us know in the comments!