The debut album by newcomers Bler heeeeeey! They just made it LOOK that way with nondescript packaging! Well, credit, I guess, for the transparent attempt at creating a new start, new subjects, new sound, and nu-rock, only not nu-rock at all, because that would suck.
But seriously kids, this really is a whole new Blur, one influenced heavily by American rock music and the blowjobs and candycanes it brings. Gone is the reliance on the crushing bleakness of life in England, the printed lyrics, the candied yams; here is a smorgasboard of topics, none of them related, distorted electric guitars, letting Graham (the guitarist) write and sing a damned song, a slew of Billy Joel covers (on my version anyway), and generally doing things previously relegated to B-sides, only far better, to the extent that they’re now album tracks. It’s safe to say that Blur really want to zig-a-zig-ah! These aren’t your DAD’s britfags! These are some classy Americanized late 90-s, loud-like britfags, almost ready to turn into proud eagles and soar to the colonies!
Given all that, the surprise is how great it (almost) all is. The songs are almost uniformly excellent; the band acts like they never were a seminal pop band reflecting on characters in economically turbulent London. Instead there are: songs seemingly about girlfriends, all of them 60% loving, multiple parodies – one of alternarock, one of country balladeers, a spoken word piece about how fucking bleak Essex is, two pop-rock meangingless fuckarounds, a couple tracks of fucking around, a sad party song, a song about America being empty (REEALLLY????), and a quasi-rap wtf that’s still pretty great. Is that all of them? There’s also a loud, short song.
The only weak ones are the fuckaround (“M.O.R.” and “Movin’ On), and the two minute coda of “Beetlebum.” In classic Blur fashion the four singles are included in the first five tracks, and things get less accessible after that, but the hook are here, there, and everywhere. The thing has the feel of a band struggling and mostly getting it right. Favourites include the aforementioned rap-wtf “On Your Own”, motto of sad teenagers (but not socially retarded ones) “Death Of A Party”, and the heartwarming, lo-fi “You’re So Great,” about a lover but also many other great things worth loving, sung by Graham Coxon (who totally doesn’t deserve to be called ‘Gay Cock Son’).
The hooks are just so everywhere that it’s loveable and great. I remember how pretty much everything on here went when I went to put it on again after not having heard most of the songs since late high school / early university. Steer clear if you have a hate-on for anything that sounds 90s, but come on, they beat the hell out of the 80s, and Nirvana fangirls are pretty cute. Well, except the fat ones, but that goes for anything. And Blur fans? If you find any you’ve probably made a friend with general intelligence and good taste, which isn’t something you can say about many bands.
8 / 10