Tuniver.se - Your music. Discovered.
Get TuneUp Companion!

Artist: Blur

Blur

Bio

Blur is an alternative rock band which formed in Colchester, England in 1989. The band consists of Damon Albarn (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Graham Coxon (guitar, vocals), Alex James (bass) and Dave Rowntree (drums). Blur's debut album Leisure (1991) incorporated the sounds of Madchester and Shoegazing and spawned their first UK Top 10 single, There's No Other Way. Following a stylistic change in 1992 (influenced by English guitar groups such as The Kinks, The Beatles, The Animals and XTC) Blur released "Popscene" as a stand alone single, this was a commercial flop, but was widely considered to be a crucial turning point for the band's style. Following this, Blur released 3 studio albums in a similar style: Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995). As a result, the band helped to popularise the Britpop genre and achieved mass popularity in the UK, aided by a famous chart battle with rival band Oasis dubbed "The Battle of Britpop". By the late 1990s, with the release of Blur (1997), the band underwent another reinvention, influenced by the lo-fi style of American indie rock bands such as Pavement; in the process, Blur finally gained mainstream success in the US with the single, "Song 2". The last album featuring the band's original lineup, 13 (1999) found Blur experimenting with electronic music and gospel music, as Albarn wrote more personal lyrics. In May 2002, Coxon left Blur during the recording of their seventh album Think Tank (2003). Containing electronic sounds and simpler guitar playing, the album was marked by Albarn's growing interest in hip-hop and African music. In December 2008, Blur announced that they would be reforming for the first time since their hiatus in 2003, complete with Graham Coxon, for a UK Tour in 2009. Blur headlined the Oxegen Festival in Ireland, Glastonbury and the T in the Park Festival in the UK, as well as Dates in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Southend and Wolverhampton. The band continues to be sporadically active, releasing the single "Fool's Day" and the documentary "No Distance Left to Run" in 2010, and performing several concerts in 2012. Two new songs, "Under the Westway" and "The Puritan", were released in 2012 leading up to a post-Olympics concert which also features New Order, The Specials and Bombay B
More at Last.fm

Concert Dates

No content available.

News

No content available.

Articles

Blur Vs. Oasis: A U.S. Perspective New York Times, Sep 1995

View Original

RIGHT NOW, the British music scene is convulsed with patriotic fervor. For the first time in over a decade, young British guitar bands are penetrating the Top 10 of the Singles Chart, barging aside faceless Euro-dance acts and routing the American grunge invaders.

View Original

This 'Britpop' movement, which includes Blur, Oasis, Elastica, Pulp and Supergrass, harks back to the days when Britannia ruled the airwaves: the ‘60s (Beatles, Kinks, The Who) and the New Wave late '70s (Buzzcocks, Wire, The Jam). But Britpop's parochial reference points and stylistic insularity, while highly appealing to large sections of U.K. youth, may pose problems when it comes to exporting the sound to America, where grunge still rules.

By far the biggest Britpop groups are Blur and Oasis, both of whom have new albums set for imminent release in this country. In August, the duel between the two bands over whose single would enter the UK charts at Number One made the British national newspapers and TV news. The rivalry between Blur and Oasis is often compared to that between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but in fact those '60s giants had a genial relationship and a gentleman's agreement not to release singles at the same time. Blur and Oasis, however, appear to loathe each other with a genuine and deep passion. Recently, Oasis' guitarist Noel Gallagher shocked the pop community when he expressed the wish that Blur's singer and bassist would both "catch AIDS and die". Underlying the verbal vendetta is a regional antagonism. Blur are from the South of England and middle-class, albeit infatuated with London proletarian lifestyles. From the Northern city of Manchester, Oasis are the genuine working class article. What both bands have in common is a dedication to resurrecting the lost glory of a quintessentially English pop canon.

Blur's fourth album The Great Escape (Virgin) pays homage to the English tradition of music-hall pop, as exemplified by the Kinks, Ian Dury and Madness, who all combined wry, observational lyrics about everyday life with a tragicomic pathos. Singer and wordsmith Damon Albarn went to drama school, and appropriately most Blur songs are like miniature satirical plays. The Great Escape is full of third-person vignettes that caricature English stereotypes. ‘Ernold Same’, a brief sketch about a conformist commuter crushed by soul-numbing routine, revives pop's tired tradition of ‘Mr Jones’ songs that jeer at squares. ‘Country House’, the single that beat Oasis to the UK Number One spot, is about a city gent who retreats from the urban ratrace. Mocking a namedropping poseur, ‘Charmless Man’ echoes the heavy-handed satire of the Kinks' ‘Dedicated Follower of Fashion’, while ‘Top Man’ is an punning portrait of a womanising thug who's "naughty by nature/shooting guns on the High Street of Love".

Despite flashes of wit, there's a condescending detachment and lack of compassion to Mr Albarn's writing that makes his characters hollow and two-dimensional. The singer's bogus Cockney accent, where "cold sweat" is pronounced "cow swah", and his perpetual sneering tone, also become irritating with prolonged exposure. Musically, The Great Escape manages somehow to be both experimental and dated, favouring the densely-detailed arrangements and quirky production effects of groups like XTC and Squeeze, who followed in the tradition of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And so Blur's guitar-quartet sound is gussied up with melodramatic strings and chirpy horns, quaint synthesisers and lugubrious pianos.

Oasis' new album (What's The Story) Morning Glory (Epic) is also deeply indebted to the Beatles. Singer Liam Gallagher sounds like a more nasal John Lennon, with the joie de vivre curdled to a sour arrogance. Sonically, Oasis are basically a grungier version of The La's, an early '90s Beatles-obsessed outfit from the North of England. While a fervent admirer of La's songwriter Lee Mavers, Oasis' Noel Gallagher has said that when he first saw that band perform, "I thought, 'he's ripping off my songs!'". In truth, both songwriters are so chronically influenced by Lennon & McCartney that they're basically filling in the gaps in the Beatles songbook, and inevitably sometimes the same gap.

Theorist Joe Carducci uses the term ‘genre mining’ to describe such a classic-rock approach. A marginally less hook-laden reprise of the debut LP Definitely Maybe, Morning Glory suggests Oasis' particular seam of sound is close to exhaustion. By far the best thing on the album is the closing ‘Champagne Supernova’. "Where were you when we were getting high?", taunts Liam Gallagher, "Some day you will find me/ Caught beneath a landslide/In a champagne supernova in the sky". Like Oasis' previous peak, ‘Live Forever’, this song aches with a lust for glory. Its imagistic metaphors exalt rock'n'roll as one of the few escape routes for working class jack-the-lads who want more from life than 9-to-5 drudgery.

Outside the narrow, ‘60s-fixated parameters of Britpop, the UK music scene is generating the most vital and futuristic music on the planet. From the post-rock experimentalism of Laika and Techno-Animal to trip hop's sinister atmospherics and jungle's cyber-funk frenzy, these developments have been overwhelmingly shaped by the rhythmic innovations of hip hop and techno. By comparison, what's striking about Blur and Oasis is their lack of rhythmic power. In Blur's music, the drums are decorative rather than propulsive, while the bass is melodic to the point of being rococo. As for Oasis, the trudging rhythm section is mixed low, allowing the Gallagher brothers' distorted guitars and anthemic choruses to dominate. Far from being a liability, though, this deliberately old-fashioned production style may actually be a big source of Britpop's appeal, at least to those who regard contemporary pop's cult of the beat as a tyranny.

Auctions

No content available.

No content available.

No content available.

Top Albums

Blur cover art

Blur

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

more
less
Parklife cover art

Parklife

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

more
less
13 cover art

13

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

more
less
Blur: The Best Of cover art

Blur: The Best Of

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

more
less
The Great Escape cover art

The Great Escape

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

more
less

Top Songs

Song 2 cover art

Song 2

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Girls & Boys cover art

Girls & Boys

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Coffee & TV cover art

Coffee & TV

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Parklife cover art

Parklife

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Beetlebum cover art

Beetlebum

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Tender cover art

Tender

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Country House cover art

Country House

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes    

Video

No content available.

Recommended Albums

more
less
more
less
more
less
more
less

Recommended Songs

Wonderwall cover art

Wonderwall by Oasis

Buy Amazon.com     Buy iTunes