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File:Blur 1 8547.jpg


Not to be confused with the video game.

Blur are an Alternative Rock band from Colchester, England (though more often associated with London), chiefly existing in The Nineties. Partial founders of the Britpop movement. Consisted of singer Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James, and drummer Dave Rowntree.

Debuted in 1989 on the Shoegazing and Madchester scenes as Seymour before signing to Food Records under the condition that they change their name to Blur (and, according to fan legend, that drummer Dave Rowntree stop wearing pyjama pants on stage). Soon after released their first album Leisure to moderate success, followed by the very British "Popscene" single and a tour of America to predictable results. Achieved great success with Parklife a couple of years later, they switched to noisy, experimental Alternative Rock for the next couple of albums until eventually dissolving after Think Tank sometime around 2004. The original lineup, with Graham Coxon in tow, reunited in 2009 to much anticipation and released a new song, "Fool's Day" in the Spring of 2010. Coxon and Albarn debuted a new song, "Under the Westway" at a benefit concert in February 2012 and the band now claims that a new album will eventually be recorded.

Discography

  • Leisure (1991)
  • Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993)
  • Parklife (1994)
  • The Great Escape (1995)
  • Blur (1997)
  • 13 (1999)
  • Think Tank (2003)
Tropes used in Blur (band) include:
  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: For instance, Song 2's refrain (it has more lyrics than WOO-HOO) goes "When I feel heavy meTAL / And I'm pins and needLES".
  • Affectionate Parody: The song "Song 2" parodies Grunge, while sounding better than most songs in the genre.
    • It was intended to be an affectionate parody of Graham Coxon's favorite band at the time, Pavement. The lyrics might be, the music certainly isn't.
  • Album Title Drop: Modern Life Is Rubbish in "For Tomorrow"
  • Attractive Bent Gender: Alex James in the "Parklife" video.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Fans of Coxon saw Think Tank as this.
  • Bank Holidays: "Bank Holiday", weirdly enough.
  • Bilingual Bonus: "To The End" has Stereolab singer Lætitia Sadier speaking French between the lines of the verses.
    • "Yuko and Hiro" features backing vocals in Japanese.
    • "Girls and Boys" has a bit of Gratuitous German.
    • Also, a b-side to "Girls and Boys" called "People in Europe" contains lyrics in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Swedish, all with some embarrassingly bad pronunciation.
  • Black Sheep Hit: "Song 2" (especially in America) and to a lesser extent, "Boys and Girls".
  • Break Up Song: Most of 13.
  • B Side: A 22 CD set was released in 1999: 22 singles with all their original b-sides, a 127 track total.
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Parklife", with the spoken lines done by Phil Daniels.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Oh yes.
  • Concept Album: Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife, and The Great Escape form a loose trilogy about the lives of the Working, Middle, and Upper classes in Britain, respectively.
  • Darker and Edgier: Their first few albums were bright and bubbly, but their albums gradually got darker and melancholy as their sound progressed, with the subject matter of 13 mainly being that of Damon's split from his girlfriend, having a very eerie and sombre feel to it. Think Tank introduced African influences.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "Beetlebum" is about negative drug experiences that Damon Albarn had with the aforementioned Justine Frischmann.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: "Death Of A Party" was originally recorded in 1992 as an acoustic demo, but not released. The band forgot about it until they rediscovered it in 1996 and released it on CD as that years fan club release. They liked it so much they decided to rerecord it for their 1997 album Blur. Remixes were commissioned, but it didn't make a full single.
    • The same is true of the song "1992" which was written and home demoed in the year it's named after, but but was deemed too dark and depressing. That is, until 1999, when Blur made their dark and depressing album 13 on which it fit perfectly. The demo of "1992" has never been released. What is interesting about the 1999 version is that guitar effects are used which Blur hadn't used since their unreleased 1992 album (compare about 3:40 in "1992" to those at the end of "Into Another").
    • "I Got Law" is an early demo version of the Gorillaz song "Tomorrow Comes Today" - so early the only recognisable element is Damon's vocal melody, and the drum machine and synths make it sound like something out of Homestar Runner. "I Got Law" is so obscure (it only appears as a bonus track to the Japanese version of 13) that it isn't known whether Damon actually wanted to release it.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: "To The End," with an alternate version recorded entirely in French. As mentioned above the original featured French spoken word backing vocals by Lætitia Sadier of Stereolab. The all-French "La Comedie" version features vocals from Françoise Hardy.
  • Genre Shift: From shoegazing-pop to Britpop to blatantly Pavementish to melancholic electronica to whatever the hell Think Tank was.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Two: The Best of Blur (2000) and Midlife (2009), though Midlife wasn't much of a greatest-hits as a plain old retrospective, as it purposely excluded a few key singles like "There's No Other Way" and "Country House" (not because the band didn't like them but because their label wanted to market them as a Serious 90's Guitar Band) in favor of obscure album tracks like "Blue Jeans" and "Strange News from Another Star".
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: With some regularity, especially when distorted vocals become their norm
  • Last-Note Nightmare: Sing.
  • Looped Lyrics: "We've Got A File On You" is... well... just that. And nothing else. "Jets," as well.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Country House" is a bright, shiny pop tune about a horribly depressed rich man dealing with the emptiness of his existence.
    • Many, if not most of their songs have Lyrical Dissonance to some degree. They epitomize the very Britpop tendency of marrying rather melancholy lyrics to bouncy, bubbly pop songs.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Damon, especially around the Britpop years.
    • The whole band, during the Britpop years. Damon and Alex were drop-dead gorgeous, Graham was very handsome, and Dave was attractive and looked Hollywood-ugly only when compared with the other three. This caused a backlash from many males, who compared Blur to boy-bands the likes of New Kids on the Block or Take That. This got to the point that the male fans (and some of the female ones) who respected the band talent and appreciated their music were immensely bothered that the girls swooned so much about the band members' looks, instead of focusing on their music. It is curious that as age has taken its toll, many people who didn't appreciate the band started to think their music was good.
  • Murder Ballad: "I'm Just A Killer For Your Love", if you can understand it.
  • Music Video Overshadowing: "Coffee and TV". That video with the walking milk box.
  • New Sound Album: At least half of them: Modern Life Is Rubbish, Blur, and Think Tank.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Anything with the word "Song" in it and pretty much nothing else. One of the very few other examples is "Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club".
  • One-Hit Wonder: "Song 2" in America[1], although Blur are much bigger in Britain and the Commonwealth countries.
  • Pac-Man Fever: In "Jubilee", right after the lyric "So he just plays on his computer game" some beepy sound effects are played. Justified, though, as the song was released in 1994.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Alex, sometimes.
  • Self-Titled Album: The one where they abandoned Britpop.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: The premise of "Crazy Beat"
  • Shout-Out: The video for The Universal is a shout out to Stanley Kubrick and A Clockwork Orange.
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Song 2 goes "WOO-HOO."
  • Signature Song: Guess.
  • Spelling Song: Top Man and B.L.U.R.E.M.I.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Parklife, most notably.
  • Together in Death/Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Milky the Milk Carton (and his strawberry milk carton lover) at the end of the music video for "Coffee & TV".
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: B.L.U.R.E.M.I.

Notes

  1. The song was actually never released as a single in America, so it wasn't able to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Most of its popularity comes from frequent airplay on rock radio stations
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