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Posted July 25, 2006 by Mike Mineo in Features
 
 

DISCOGRAPHY: Blur

I first discovered Blur in 1998 at the age of ten. At the time, the only bands that I had really become a fan of were Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. The first time I heard Blur was in a restaurant in one of those cheap jukeboxes. The song was Blur’s ‘Charmless Man’ and I instantly found my ten year old self appealed to what would be my first exposure to Brit-pop. I checked the jukebox and discovered their simple name, which I found incredibly cool at the time. It also listed the album the song was on, which was their classic The Great Escape. In literally the same day, I begged my mom to take me to the record store for the purchase. Eventually within the same year, I had purchased all five Blur albums up to that point. I found myself in love with them while they hijacked my walkman for quite some time (hey, it wasn’t the iPod’s time just yet). After two more releases (and another live album) and the departure of guitarist Graham Coxon, they went on hiatus and I don’t see Coxon reuniting with frontman Damon Albarn any time soon. Despite their messy ending, they opened my ears up to new horizons to which I treasure to this day. Let’s take a look at all seven albums…

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Leisure (1991)

Blur’s debut album was actually quite typical for any new band entering the British scene at the time. It was a showcase of their promising sound with a few highlights that attracted attention from the press, such as the catchy ‘She’s So High’. ‘Sing’ was their first display of an epic, as the six minute song was a preview of what Blur had in store for their later career. Despite some weak songs, Leisure showed quite some potential, but is still one of their weaker albums.

Rating: 6.3/10

Blur – She’s So High

Blur – Sing

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Modern Life Is Rubbish (1992)
Modern Life Is Rubbish is a dramatic increase of originality than the first album, as the band sounds incredibly laid back and much more confident in their efforts. Leisure saw Blur attempting to mimic their influences, but Modern Life Is Rubbish shows the band and their new innovative sound. Gems such as ‘Blue Jeans’ show such beautiful melodies while ‘Sunday, Sunday’ proves to be one of the band’s first effective stomping anthem-like song. The second half was not nearly as good as the first, but the album was a big step forward.

Rating: 7.8/10

Blur – Blue Jeans

Blur – Sunday, Sunday

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Parklife (1994)

Considered by many to be Blur’s best album, Parklife boosted the band to instant fame in the UK. Parklife chronicled the normal working class in Britain, and the album became Blur’s first #1 in the UK. Though the album failed to chart in the USA, the hilariously brilliant ‘Girls & Boys’ found success there. I enjoy every single song on Parklife, especially the brilliant ‘Clover Over Dover’, which explains the tragedy of working and suicide. If you dislike this album, you must have a heart made of stone!

Rating: 9.6/10

Blur – Girls & Boys

Blur – Clover Over Dover

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The Great Escape (1995)
Personally, The Great Escape is my favorite Blur album. It could be for sentimental reasons considering it was my first, but for some reason I think it relies entirely on the content. I find the album completely flawless, while Blur were at the peak of their career. Whether it was rapid fire of ‘It Could Be You’ or the epic and melodramatic ‘The Thought Of Cars’, each and every song on The Great Escape were great. Even the b-sides to the album were great, such as the excitable ‘Ultranol’. This album is one of my favorites of all time.

Rating: 10/10

Blur – It Could Be You

Blur – The Thought Of Cars

Blur – Ultranol

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Blur (1997)
Ask any American about the band Blur and what would they tell you? Most likely: “Oh yeah, they’re the band with that woo-hoo song”. Actually, last summer I was friends with an exchange student from Russia, and when she was looking through my iPod, she saw Blur and exclaimed in broken English, “oh, I love the woohoo song!” So, I guess Blur is universal in that aspect. Though their self-titled album is known for the over popular ‘Song 2′, it has its other great moments as well, such as the great opener in ‘Beetlebum’ or the dark ‘Death Of A Party’. Blur was not as strong as the two prior to it, but it was still great nonetheless.

Rating: 8.8/10

Blur – Song 2

Blur – Beetlebum

Blur – Death Of A Party

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13 (1999)

13 was Blur’s most experimental and ambient album. It recieved lukewarm reviews, but I was very admirable of Blur’s efforts to manufacture songs that created a certain kind of atmosphere. The song ’1992′ really is quite beautiful as it grows on you and ‘Trimm Trabb’ is as catchy as any one of their previous pop songs. Admittedly some songs were boring and overproduced, but the effort was still put into it as usual with several good results.

Rating: 7.6/10

Blur – 1992

Blur – Trimm Trabb

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Think Tank (2003)
My favorite song off of Think Tank was ‘Battery in Your Leg’, which was ironically the only song Graham Coxon was involved in for the album. Though some enjoyed the album, I found it one of Blur’s weaker efforts. I thought the album’s attempt to be creative backfired and created a few more boring songs that are trying to hide themselves with too many technological antics. ‘Crazy Beat’ is catchy, and several others shine, but I found myself disappointed as a whole. My expectations were probably too high but if anything, it shows how much Graham Coxon was a part of Blur.

Rating: 6.8/10

Blur – Battery in Your Leg

Blur – Crazy Beat

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Mike Mineo

 
I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound. I used to write for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine. Send your music to [email protected].