"Country House" was the first of two Blur singles to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart (the second being 1997's "Beetlebum"). The song is about a man who retires to an expensive country house to escape the pressures of the city. In an interview for the South Bank Show, Damon Albarn explained that it was inspired by former Blur manager Dave Balfe, who left Blur's label Food Records and bought a house in the country. The cover art features an image of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria (the image is horizontally flipped).
"Country House" received a great deal of media attention when Blur's label Food Records moved the original release date to the same day as Oasis's "Roll with It". The British media had already reported an intense rivalry between the two bands and this clash of releases was seen as a battle for the number one spot, dubbed the 'Battle of Britpop'. In the event, "Country House" won the 'battle', attaining the No. 1 spot while "Roll with It" came in at No. 2 and having marginally fewer sales. However, the sales for Blur's album The Great Escape were lower than those for Oasis's album (What's the Story) Morning Glory.