Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Essential 10: Blur

Doing that New Order post made wanna do some more with the idea of chronicaling a band's history through some songs (I should do something with this one film). So I felt it was appropriate to one on the recently reunited Blur, one of the 90's finests bands.

Also, kudos to Parlaphone and Blur for letting anyone embed their videos on people's blogs.

1991 - "She's So High"

Better than the Madchester knock-off "There's No Other Way", "She's So High" is a song that is more like their own band despite a lack of confidence. "She's So High" may be a bit shoegazery, but it 's one of Blur's really early songs that would be still played at their later shows.

1992 - "Popscene"

Back in 1992, Blur felt a little less than happy. Frustrated at their own sound and a lack of respect from the music scene, Blur made this big middle finger to the scene. It also sets Blur up for a series of great single that will make up for the rest of the 90's.

1994 - "Girls and Boys"

Opening of their 1994 classic, Parklife, the Britpop anthem mocked Pet Shop Boys-styled dance track that ruled the parties of Britons having a holiday of in Greece. It also showed that Blur weren't afraid to experiment a bit.

1995 - "Country House"

The song that beat Oasis to the top of the British charts (the "morning glory" lyric is probably a coincidence), "Country House" is an excellent pop song about spazzing out in a mountain of pills and booze, and relaxing from the rock star lifestyle. And this video is probably the whackiest thing this side of Benny Hill.

1995 - "Charmless Man"

Gramham Coxon may not top "Best Guitarists" poll, but he surely is widely respected by British musicians. "Charmless Man" shows that Coxon was a brilliant riff master, who made many great riffs, probably as much as Keith Richards in the 60s. The song, thanks to the clever riff and lyrics, is a brilliant little nugget about stuffy high class types that always playa hate.

1995 - "The Universal"

A key song of theirs, "The Universal" is generally seen as one of Blur's best songs. In Britain, the song and video usually makes appearances on "Best of" polls. Now while Damon Albarn may have disliked the album The Great Escape, due to it's rushed production, the album contains some of their biggest hits. So they were doing something right.

1997 - "Beetlebum"

Despite making chart topping hits, and a great follow up to Parklife, Blur were generally seen as finito compared to the success of Oasis' What's the Story (Morning Glory)? However, 1997 was a turning point in the Battle of Britpop, with the release of Blur, which revitalized them as a band, while Oasis' Be Here Now was seen as a limp retread (a trend that continues to this very day). "Beetlebum" was also their first No. 1 hit since "Country House". Talk about comebacks.

1997 - "Song 2"

Pavement. Is there anything they can't inspire? Influenced by the lo-fi groups of America, and apparently by Bob Nastanovich's role in Pavement (wait, really?) Blur's "Song 2" is one of their most unique songs, and even made an impact in the states, a place where Blur never really broke through.

1999 - "Coffee and TV"

As Blur kept growing as an artists, it became evident soon that this evolution would cause a rift, specifically with the more alternative loving Graham Coxom sparring with the more ecclectic Damon Albarn. However, "Coffee and TV" is one of their best, a mature, subtle track that was about Coxon attempt to kick his alcohol habit. Also, the video is a kicker. Enjoy it.

2003 - "Crazy Beat"

Though Coxon had left the group, Blur still carried on, and made the excellent swan song Think Tank. "Out of Time" is generally one their most uncharacteristic songs with it's brooding and quiet melody. It was also a good way to end the bands run, as they would call it quits in 2004.

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