“To the End” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur. It appears on their third album, Parklife, and was released as single in May 1994. The song describes a couple unsuccessfully trying to overcome a bad patch in a relationship, and features full orchestral accompaniment with a choric refrain in French by Lætitia Sadier from Stereolab. The song was produced by Stephen Hague, unlike the rest of the Parklife album, which was produced by Stephen Street. Blur have produced several different recordings of the song.
“This Is a Low” is a song by English rock band Blur for their third studio album, Parklife. The song was released as a promotional single in 1995.
Originally titled “We Are the Low”, the song began life as an instrumental during the Parklife sessions. In the guitar solo, Graham Coxon played three solos, including one of him sat in front of his amp, turned up to maximum volume. According to bassist Alex James, Damon Albarn was finding it hard to write lyrics. In his autobiography, ‘A Bit of a Blur’, he revealed that “for Christmas I bought him a handkerchief with a map of the shipping forecast regions on it… you can never tell where the muse is going to appear.” “We always found the shipping forecast soothing,” James explained. “We used to listen to it [on the American tour] to remind us of home. It’s very good for a hangover. Good cure for insomnia, too.” On 4 February 1994, the penultimate day of official recording, Albarn was due to go into hospital for a hernia operation. Pressured to come up with the lyrics, Albarn took advantage of the map James had given him. “I’d had this line – ‘And into the sea go pretty England and me’ – for a long time”, Albarn revealed. “So I started at the Bay of Biscay. Back for tea. ‘Tea’ rhymes with ‘me’. And then I went ‘Hit traffic on the Dogger Bank’. ‘Bank’ – ‘rank’ – so ‘up the Thames to find a taxi rank’. And I just went round.”
“There’s No Other Way” is a song by English band Blur, released 15 April 1991 as the second single from their debut album Leisure.
The song utilises a beat and tambourine sound typical of songs of the Madchester and baggy scene.
The video for the song was directed by David Balfe, the former keyboardist for The Teardrop Explodes and owner of Blur’s label Food Records.
The song was the band’s first top 10 in the UK, reaching number 8 in the UK Singles Chart. The single was also a minor hit in the US, reaching number 82 on the Billboard Hot 100, and number five on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. A playable version of the song is available for the Rock Band video game series, and it is available to download for Guitar Hero 5.
“The Universal” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur and is featured on their fourth studio album, The Great Escape. It was released 13 November 1995 as the second single from that album, charting at #5 in the UK Singles Chart (see 1995 in British music).
In keeping with the song’s science fiction theme,[clarification needed] the single’s cover art is an allusion to the opening shot of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the music video is a tribute to the movie A Clockwork Orange, with the band dressed up in costumes similar to Alex and his droogs. Both films were directed by Stanley Kubrick.
“Tender” is a 1999 song by English rock band Blur.
The song’s lyrics were written by Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon and the vocals are shared on the track with backing vocals provided by the London Community Gospel Choir. The line “Tender is the night”, and by extension the name of the song, is a reference to the novel Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose title was in turn a quotation from Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale.
During Coxon’s hiatus from the group, Blur continued to perform the song live with Albarn asking the audience to sing Coxon’s lines; “Oh my baby/Oh my baby/Oh why?/Oh my”. At Blur’s headline appearance at Reading Festival in 2003, he introduced the song by saying “I don’t want, for one moment, to be a sentimental but… Graham wrote this song as well… you know the bits he sings and I want you to sing them as loudly as you possibly can. Everyone needs to sing this song.” Drummer Dave Rowntree would also sing Coxon’s lines on occasion. In July 2009 when Blur re-formed, Coxon’s lines in “Tender” were repeated and sung powerfully by the audience to call Blur back to stage at Glastonbury, Hyde Park and T in the Park.
In March 2013, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher performed this song live at the Teenage Cancer Trust charity event.
Sunday Sunday” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur, featured on their second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish. It was released 4 October 1993 as the final single from that album, and charted at number 26 in the UK Singles Charts. This is the highest charting single from the album (although the lowest-selling single from the album); the record company thought the original album contained no singles, and had the band write the other two singles specifically for single release. The band’s original name, ‘Seymour’, is credited as guest performer on the CD1 single, due to the B-sides being recordings from that era.
The song is about traditional British Sunday activities, like a Sunday roast, seeing family and a walk in the park. The song “Daisy Bell” is a B-side on CD 2. Singer Damon Albarn once mentioned that he would like to make music his grandparents would approve of. Graham Coxon has admitted that the cover versions of “Daisy Bell” and “Let’s All Go Down The Strand” were one of the worst moments in Blur’s career.
CD 2 is titled ‘The Sunday Sunday Popular Community Song CD, making it rather like an extended play.
“Stereotypes” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur and is the opening track to their fourth studio album, The Great Escape. It was released on 12 February 1996 as the third single from that album, charting at number 7 in the UK Singles Chart. It was originally intended to be the album’s first single.
“Tame”, one of the single’s B-sides, is sometimes viewed as Blur’s first push into the sound that they would develop greatly on their next album, Blur.
The music video which was directed by Matthew Longfellow features live footage. Whereas the previous live video promo “End of a Century” was live in picture and sound, “Stereotypes” is simply live footage edited to fit the album track recording.
“Song 2” is a song by English rock band Blur, the second track from their 1997 eponymous fifth studio album. The hook features Damon Albarn yelling “woo-hoo!” as the distorted bass comes in. Released in April 1997, “Song 2” appropriately reached number two in the UK Singles Chart, number four on the Australian ARIA Charts, and number six on US Billboard Alternative Songs (previously called Billboard Modern Rock Tracks).
At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, “Song 2” was nominated for Best Group Video, and Best Alternative Video. At the 1998 Brit Awards the song was nominated for Best British Single, and Best British Video. In December 1998, BBC Radio 1 listeners voted “Song 2” the 15th Best Track Ever. In October 2011, NME placed it No. 79 on its list “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”.
Blur intended “Song 2” to be a parody of grunge. The song was nonetheless their biggest hit in the United States. The song has often featured in popular culture, and first appeared in the hit video game FIFA: Road to World Cup 98.
“She’s So High” is a song by English band Blur, released as a double A-side single with “I Know” on 15 October 1990 as their debut single. It is the first track on the band’s first album, Leisure, released in 1991.
The artwork was designed by Mel Ramos and shows a naked woman riding a hippopotamus.
On the MTV Blurography special of 1996, in which the band members talked about the promotional videos, drummer Dave Rowntree recalled, “The head of our record company, David Balfe, wanted to try his hand at video directing. There were these neon rings suspended from the ceiling by three wires, each with someone holding a wire. He [Balfe] wanted these people to wobble the wires so that the neon rings would move. He kept shouting, ‘I haven’t seen the definitive wobble yet!'”. Lead singer Damon Albarn appeared in a Penguin Books shirt, which has become something of a cult icon.
“Popscene” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur, released as a non-album single on 30 March 1992. Despite its relatively low chart placing, it has since become critically praised and regarded as one of the pioneering songs of the Britpop genre.
The song was first played live in Autumn 1991, and recorded at Matrix Studios in Holborn with producer Steve Lovell. The lyrics showed frontman Damon Albarn’s distaste for the music business, complaining that there were too many insignificant indie bands.
Musically, it was different to the style seen on the group’s first album Leisure and featured heavily flanged guitars, a Can influenced drumbeat, and brass from session players the Kick Horns. The band considered “Popscene” to be the loudest and best thing they had worked on at that point.
“Parklife” is the title track from Blur’s 1994 album Parklife. When released as the album’s third single, “Parklife” reached number 10 in the UK singles chart. The song has spoken verses, narrated by actor Phil Daniels, who also appears in the song’s music video. The choruses are sung by lead singer Damon Albarn.
The song won Best British Single and Best Video at the 1995 BRIT Awards and was also performed at the 2012 BRIT Awards. The song is one of the defining tracks of Britpop, and features in the 2003 compilation album Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop.
“Out of Time” is a song by Blur and was released as the lead single from their seventh album Think Tank in 2003 (see 2003 in British music). The song is a bass-driven track with minimal drums and acoustic guitar accompanied by eastern and orchestral flourishes. The faint screaming/gargling noise in the intro is a soundclip from Doctor Who. It reached number five in the UK Singles Chart. “Out of Time” was Blur’s first release in three years and also the band’s first release without guitarist Graham Coxon.
Since the 2009 reunion, the song has been a staple of Blur’s live sets, albeit in a slightly different arrangement featuring Coxon playing electric guitar. It is also the only song from Think Tank originally without Coxon’s involvement to be played.
In October 2011, NME placed it at number 73 on its list “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years” and eighth on its list “Greatest Tracks of the Decade”. They later ranked it the 499th best song ever.
“On Your Own” is a song by Blur. It was released as a single on 16 June 1997, and can also be found on the album Blur. It charted at number 5 on the UK singles chart. The song is used in The Beach (2000).
Although it wasn’t released exclusively under the name, Damon Albarn, frontman of both musical projects, has since referred the song as ‘one of the first ever Gorillaz tunes’.
The music video for “On your Own” was directed by Sophie Muller and recorded in Barcelona, in what at the moment was an industrial site, by the Besos Water Tower.
“No Distance Left to Run” is a song by Blur. It is on their 1999 album 13 and was also released as the third and final single from the album, reaching number 14 in the UK Singles Chart. It is widely understood to refer to Blur vocalist Damon Albarn’s split from long-term partner Justine Frischmann.
Damon Albarn says that he is affected by this song: “It upsets me, that song. It upset me singing it. Doing that vocal upset me greatly. To sing that lyric I really had to accept that that was the end of something in my life. It’s amazing when you do have the guts to do that with your work, because it don’t half help you.” The song’s title is also the title of a documentary about the band, which was released in cinemas in January 2010.
“Music Is My Radar” is a song by British band Blur. As a single, it reached Number 10 in the UK. It was released in support of the band’s greatest hits compilation, Blur: The Best Of, on which it was the only song that hadn’t previously appeared on another album.
A line from this song, “Tony Allen got me dancing”, was the inspiration for Damon Albarn and Allen to work together recording an album. This project eventually ended up as The Good, the Bad and the Queen.
This song is notable for being Blur’s last single with guitarist Graham Coxon before he left the band for over eight years before the 2009 reunion. Coxon’s debut promotional solo single “Oochy Woochy” was released the month after “Music is My Radar”
The version that appears on the “Best Of” is 5:21, but the single versions are edits (4:21).
“Girls & Boys” is a 1994 song by British rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single from the group’s third album Parklife. Charting at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart, “Girls & Boys” was Blur’s first top 5 hit and their most successful single until “Country House” reached number 1 the following year. The single surpassed their previous commercial peak “There’s No Other Way” by three spots on the UK Singles Chart, and saw the group achieve greater worldwide success. In the US, the track reached number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, becoming the band’s second single to hit the chart after “There’s No Other Way”. It also reached number 4 on the Modern Rock songs chart.
“For Tomorrow” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur. It is the lead track to their second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish (the title appears in the lyric). Released 19 April 1993 as the first single from the album, “For Tomorrow” charted at number 28 in the UK Singles Chart. The Visit to Primrose Hill Extended version of “For Tomorrow” was included in the band’s compilation albums, Blur: The Best of, (being the only song from Modern Life Is Rubbish to be featured) and Midlife: A Beginner’s Guide to Blur.
“Fool’s Day” is a song by English band Blur. It was the band’s first single since 2003’s “Good Song”. The track was released as a 7″ for Record Store Day, with only 1000 copies made. On 18 April 2010, to “avoid fans having to illegally obtain an inferior copy of this track from pirate sites”, the band made the song a free download on their website in both MP3 and WAV formats. The single is the first featuring guitarist Graham Coxon since 2000’s “Music Is My Radar”.
“End of a Century” is a song by alternative rock band Blur. Released in November 1994, it was the last single to be released from their third album Parklife. “End of a Century” reached number 19 on the UK Singles Chart, considered a disappointment by Andy Ross of Food Records. Albarn later stated that “End of a Century” may not have been the best choice for the album’s fourth single, and that “This Is a Low” would have been a better alternative.
Don’t Bomb When You’re the Bomb is a 2002 single released by Blur as 7″ vinyl single. The largely electronic piece was recorded towards the start of the sessions for Think Tank.
The track was inspired by the Iraq conflict hence the Arabic text on the red labels. 1000 copies were pressed and it has subsequently been reported that the majority were destroyed during an anti-Iraqi war protest.. It is one of the band’s rarer promotional singles, along with “The Wassailing Song”, “Death of a Party” and “Bugman”.
The track was included in the band’s Blur 21 box set in 2012.
“Crazy Beat” is a song by English band Blur. It was released as the second single from their seventh album Think Tank in 2003. “Crazy Beat” has been compared by critics and the band to Blur’s 1997 hit “Song 2” in its guitar-driven simplicity. Released in the United States as the first single from the album, it became Blur’s first single since “Song 2” to chart on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, reaching No. 22. Graham Coxon, who had previously left the group, plays on the single’s B-side “The Outsider”.
“Country House” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single from the band’s fourth album The Great Escape on 14 August 1995. “Country House” was the first of two Blur singles to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart (the second being 1997’s “Beetlebum”).
In an interview for the South Bank Show, Damon Albarn explained that it was inspired by former Blur manager Dave Balfe, who left Blur’s label Food Records and bought a house in the country.
The song is about a man who retires to an expensive country house to escape the pressures of the city. The cover art features a horizontally-flipped image of Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.
“Coffee & TV” is a 1999 song by the Britpop band Blur. It was written by the band’s guitarist, Graham Coxon, who also sang lead vocals, as opposed to frontman Damon Albarn. The song appears on Blur’s sixth studio album, 13 and was the second single released from the album. The lyrics describe Coxon’s struggle with alcoholism and the song’s video, featuring a sentient milk carton searching for Coxon, won several awards.
The song was recorded, along with the rest of the material for 13 in late 1998, with producer William Orbit. Coxon wrote the song about his struggle from alcoholism, and how he would unwind by watching television over a cup of coffee instead, and writing songs. This experience also contributed to his first solo album, The Sky Is Too High.
The song’s musical style is an anomaly in comparison with the rest of 13, appearing similar to Blur’s earlier, Britpop days. Despite featuring heavy guitar distortion and feedback during the instrumental break, major characteristics of 13, the track generally features subdued, calm lyrics and vocals. The edit of the singles cuts off the instrumental part after the fade out and runs about 40 seconds shorter than the album version. This instrumental part is a hidden track, which, though officially untitled, is known as “Coffee & TV Exitlude”.
“Chemical World” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur, featured on their second album Modern Life Is Rubbish (1993).
The single was released in the UK on 7″ and 12″ vinyl and two CDs. CD1 and the 12″ featured the reworked demo version while CD2 and the 7″ featured the Stephen Street version (in edited form on the 7″).
The 12″ and CD2 feature three exclusive tracks “Young & Lovely”, “Es Schmecht” and “My Ark”. “Young & Lovely” was hailed as one of the greatest “lost tracks” by Q in 2007.
CD1 features three tracks recorded live at Glastonbury Festival 1992. The song “Never Clever” had not been previously released. It was originally intended as the follow-up to Blur’s fourth single, “Popscene”. However, the commercial death of “Popscene” prompted those plans to be abandoned. The studio version of “Never Clever” was eventually released on a promo CD to celebrate Food Records’ 100th release in 1997.
The 7″ vinyl has a cover version of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”, which had been recorded for and was first released on Ruby Trax, a 1992 triple album compilation of cover versions issued by the NME on its 40th birthday. It was also featured on Blur’s The Special Collectors Edition in 1994 along with “Es Schmecht”.
“Charmless Man” is a song by English alternative rock band Blur and is the fourth track on their fourth studio album, The Great Escape. It was released on 29 April 1996 as the fourth and final single from that album, charting at number 5 in the UK Singles Chart.
Speaking in December 1996, Damon Albarn said, “‘Charmless Man’ was the end of something… it was the end of British pop. For us, anyway”. He also commented that the song would be suitable in a musical.
The inspiration for the song came from when Albarn was visiting his grandmother in Lincolnshire. He stopped off at Grantham railway station and when inside the gentlemen’s toilet, he noticed a piece of graffiti on a similar theme to the song’s title.
“Beetlebum” is a 1997 song by English alternative rock band Blur. It was released as the lead single for the band’s eponymous fifth album, Blur. The single debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, becoming Blur’s second track to reach the spot (after “Country House”).
Damon Albarn has confessed that the song is about heroin and the drug experiences he had with his then-girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica. In the 2010 Blur documentary, No Distance Left to Run, Albarn confirmed this notion on film. Albarn has stated in an interview with MTV that the song describes a complicated emotion, sort of ‘sleepy’ and sort of ‘sexy’.
The song has been described as a “Beatles tribute” by several publications; Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic wrote that the song “[ran] through the White Album in the space of five minutes.”
“Bang” is a song by English band Blur, released on 29 July 1991 as the third single from their debut album Leisure.
The video, directed by Willy Smax, features the band in west London at night. Time-lapse photography of night-time traffic was used, creating streaks of light from cars’ headlights. Black-and-white performance shots were also included. In later years Dave Rowntree expressed his love of the video, stating it as his favorite of the Blur catalogue. The video itself went generally unnoticed during its time of release and of all the promos, gets the least airplay on television. The video has been aired quite frequently on MTV Rocks, though, as part of their Blur Top 40 list, of which it features at 26. A vinyl copy of Beatles for Sale by the Beatles and Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan can be found in the music video when Graham Coxon is seen playing his guitar. The board game the band are playing whilst sat at the table is Scrabble. The music video bears similarity to “Tomorrow Comes Today” by frontman Damon Albarn’s later project Gorillaz due to its shots of London and the Centre Point building.
Think Tank is the seventh studio album by the English rock band Blur, released in May 2003. Jettisoning the Britpop sound of Blur’s early career as well as the lo-fi indie rock of Blur (1997), Think Tank continued the jam-based studio constructions of the group’s previous album, 13 (1999). The album expanded on the use of sampled rhythm loops and brooding, heavy electronic sounds. There are also heavy influences from dance music, hip hop, dub, jazz, and African music, an indication of lead singer-songwriter, Damon Albarn’s expanding musical interests.
Recording sessions started in November 2001, taking place in London, Morocco and Devon, and finished a year later. The album’s primary producer was Ben Hillier with additional production by Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), and William Orbit. At the start of the sessions, guitarist Graham Coxon had been in rehab for alcoholism. After he rejoined, relationships between him and the other members became strained. After initial recording sessions, Coxon left, leaving little of his presence on the finished album. Think Tank is a loose concept album, which Albarn has stated is about “love and politics”. Albarn, a pacifist, had spoken out against the invasion of Afghanistan and, after Western nations threatened to invade Iraq, took part in the widespread protests against the war. Anti-war themes are recurrent in the album as well as in associated artwork and promotional videos.
After leaking onto the internet in March, Think Tank was released on 5 May 2003 and entered the UK Albums Chart at number one, making it Blur’s fifth consecutive studio album to reach the topspot. The album was later certified Gold. Think Tank also reached the top 20 in many other countries, including Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Japan. It was their highest charting album in the United States, reaching number 56 on the Billboard 200. The album produced three singles, which charted at number 5, number 18 and number 22 respectively on the UK Singles Chart. After the album was released, Blur announced a world tour with Simon Tong filling in for Coxon.
Think Tank was well-received critically, with a score of 83 on Metacritic, which equates to a tag of “universal acclaim”. Several critics saw the album as timely, in part due to its being recorded in the Arab world where US and UK policies were unpopular. The album was nominated for Best British Album at the 2004 Brit Awards, and won the Q Album of the Year award. Since its release, Think Tank received a number of accolades listing it as one of the greatest albums of 2003 as well as the decade as a whole. It is also the first Blur album not to open with a single.