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…
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
You and me must be the only people on the planet to love ‘The Great Escape’!…everyone I know hates it. I don’t think Parklife or Leisure has aged very well at all. For me ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ is my favourite closely followed by ‘Think Tank’. I love Blur.
My all time favorite band- though “13” is by far my favorite record. The hiatus is off too- they’re in the middle of making an EP (minus Coxon).
How delighted I was when I saw your post on Blur!!! One of the best bands ever. But I am going to have to agree with tom barrett that Modern Life is by far the masterpiece.. just the two hidden tracks alone “peaches” and “when the cows come home” are amazing!! plus oily water is so so cool. and oily…
I would have to say that I am also going to agree with Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher when he said “blur is a great singles band. Period.” I think the closest that blur came to complete albums are “modern life” and “blur”.
Other than that, I just take all the singles and extra favorites off all the albums combined and mash them onto my ipod!… ahh the stereotypes there must be more to life!
[…] Obscure Sound has compiled a Blur discography, which was a huge trip down memory lane for me. I feel really old and uncool when I consider that Mike “first discovered Blur in 1998 at the age of ten”. When I was ten years old, I listened to, uh, ABBA and The Beatles maybe? The first record I ever bought was by A-ha, when I was twelve, so kudos to him. However, I pride myself on the fact that I actually discovered Blur upon their first album, “Leisure”. I saw the video to “There’s No Other Way” on MTV’s 120 Minutes (a show I loved so much I named my cat after their host), had to buy the album, and I still listen to “Birthday” on my birthday every year, which leaves me feeling alone and depressed. Which is just the way that birthdays should be spent. At least for five minutes. […]
“Battery In Your Leg” is beautiful and perfect.
blur!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what a name!!!!!!!!! i loved it so much!!!!!!! out of time? clover and dover? great escape? i hope blur never end>> hey. im only the one on this 2006 that still love it. even it is the end of century>>> hey fans, how about some death party? pvt me at my email k? love u blur
Good observation, your ideas are right on.
I was there for all of it. Saw Blur live MANY times here in America. LOL 10 years old, wow I feel old
Good blog! Im 17 and reckon that even thoguh Blur are way before my time, they are an awesome band! Ultranol is quite good!
I wasn’t into Blur the 1st time around (Ii’m a bit of an old hippy).But sort of discovered them about 6 years ago by hearing a few songs on the radio,which sort of took me back.Not too much into the early poppy stuff,but from around 94+,I realyy think they done well.My favorite album is Think Tank,and visit it quite often now.Don’t know if they will make another album,but I’m well into them now:)