Probably the most famous Blur song, “Song 2” – named for its placement on this album – is a heavy grunge-rock anthem, sitting alongside the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the annals of nineties music; heck, I’ve played it in two separate rock cover bands over the years.
And yet its oddly out of step with the rest of Blur’s catalogue, not really fitting with their earlier work (thing “Charming Man” or “Girls And Boys”), or later (think “Coffee And TV” or “Tender”).
This self-titled is the fifth album overall by Blur, and maybe their best start-to-finish record – leading off with the brilliant “Beetlebum”, then into “Song 2”, then the downbeat indie rock ballad “Country Sad Ballad Man”, then into wonderful rocker “M.O.R.”. It never really lets up – each song has something enjoyable to offer.
My favourite might be fast-paced (and shockingly short) mid-album rocker “Chinese Bombs”, its over-distorted guitars barely more than noise as it almost drowns out Damon Albarn’s vocal line as he sings “He makes an inner arm block / Then kicks off from behind / The lights they go off / But he can fight blind”, painting a cinematic picture.
I also appreciate the commitment to form here – while later Blur albums get into electronic processing, this album has the same kind of feel about it while everything remains organic, sticking to drums, bass and guitar in its composition.
This is a brilliant album and I’m glad I revisited it.
CLTM (Chris Listens To Music) is my attempt to listen to a new album every day; you can follow my efforts on Instagram here (and send recommendations), and if you like what I’m doing, support my efforts by shouting me a cuppa at Buy Me A Coffee.
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