Saturday, July 14, 2012

Six reasons to like Blur

Unfortunately, or fortunately, Blur came to many peoples attentions via the silly 'Oasis V's Blur' headlines in the UK media in the mid 1990's. Apart from encapsulating the 'Brit-pop' sound, Blur were a great band that experimented with their format and sound. I should probably stop saying 'were', as they are back together and have a couple of new songs! "Under the Westway" and "The Puritan". Aside from having really strong singles such as Girls and Boys, Parklife and Song 2, Blur seemed to be able to change and avoid stagnation, whilst still retaining fans and sales. Their 2009 'reunion' concerts in Hyde park were massive and the audience sang along word for word for most of the set. Amazingly, despite worldwide hits, tours and long-stays, Blur seemed to have kept a very quintessential English-ness in their sound. Especially in tunes such as; Country House, Charmless man, Parklife, Beetlebum, & Coffee and TV (to name but a few). I was always envious of how guitarist Graham Coxon treated his guitar as if it was capable of more than playing chords and solo's, in doing so, he has claimed his own sound. Not surprisingly, singer Damon Albarn has gone on to be the guiding party in many great projects from Mali Music, to Gorillaz. So, in the wake of Blur's release of two new tracks, their previous Lp's being re-released on Quality Vinyl (and me re-buying the self titled 1997 LP), here are 6 good reasons to like blur! With a special thanks to Dean G, for his feedback on my chosen tracks!

'Charmless man' is a single I wish I wrote. It is off the brilliant  1995 lp 'The Great Escape'.
This track is filled with lines such as:

'Educated the expensive way
He knows his claret from a beaujolais
I think he'd like to have been Ronnie Kray
But then nature didn't make him that way

He thinks his educated airs, those family shares
Will protect him, that you will respect him
He moves in circles of friends who just pretend that they like him'

"Charmless man"

'No distance left to run' is the song about the end of Damon's relationship with Justine Frischmann. Such a powerful and beautifully sad song. It might just be one man's pain, but it is universally understood.

"No distance left to run" (Live on Jool's Holland in 1999)

New Track: Under the Westway. One of two new singles. Good to see the band back and making new music!

"Under the Westway"

Released as a new track on their 'best off' in 2000, 'Music is my radar' showed all of us that not only were Blur still relevant, but they were still making great music.

"Music is my radar"

Blur's last lp was 2003's 'Think Tank'. From it comes the beautiful "Out of time". During the recording of this album, guitarist Graham Coxon left the band. Much was reported at the time about the tensions between Graham and Damon, but instead of going into sordid details, let us instead enjoy this most beautiful tune. I am not a fan of the clip, but close your eyes and just enjoy. Oh, and Dean made mention of the fact that Blur followed up 'Out of Time' with what he considers their all-time worst single 'Crazy Beat'! Graham's absence was really noticeable on that track!

"Out of time"

This next song was a massive hit EVERYWHERE. I still love it and am energised by it still. Plus I love that at the 2 minute mark, it doesn't outstay its welcome.

"Song 2"

Lastly, an extra bonus track is 'Coffee & TV'. Not only added, as a thank you to Dean G who has always liked this track, as do I, but also because Graham the guitarist, sings on this one and the video is quite cute!
"Coffee & TV"

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