Before Damon Albarn’s solo career, even before Gorillaz, there was Blur, the popular English band that helped to revolutionize the “Britpop” movement. They gained notoriety in the 90’s through a feud with fellow Britpop band Oasis (but Liam and Noel Gallagher are jerks, #teamblur is the way to go). As a lover of all things British, it was only natural that I got really really into Blur during high school. (I have been known to say that my one regret in life was that I wasn’t born earlier to be able to experience Blur in their 90’s prime). While Blur never really gained the popularity in America that they had in the UK (and that they so rightfully deserved!), they were still large contributors to the indie rock movement both within Britain and around the world. Thus, here is my personal (biased) opinion of the 10 best Blur songs…
- Lonesome Street
Gotta include this one; new album and all that. That said, this is a really cool song—there are some really interesting musical styles in this one. It’s a lot funkier and perhaps more mature and less ridiculous than some of their earlier stuff too (and like, it’s been 12 years since their last album so maturity is probably natural).
- Charmless Man
A play on The Smith’s “This Charming Man” (ugh and I thought I couldn’t love Blur more!!!), this song is awesome. The premise is basically an anecdote of the rich asshole archetype (“He moves in circles of friends who just pretend that they like him/He does the same to them and when you put it all together/There’s the model of the charmless man”—ouch). A real happy-sounding song despite the kind of depressing subject matter.
- There’s No Other Way
This song is classic Blur with catchy melodies and upbeat vocals. If you’ve never listened to Blur before, this would be a good start.
- She’s So High
This is less on the pop spectrum that the previous two songs, but still awesome in its own right. At the end of the 90’s, Blur diverged from classic Britpop to include influences from a variety of genres, including gospel and electronic music. This marks sort of the start of that transition (and if you’d like another representative song that is not on this list, check out “Tender”).
- Country House
Back to the poppy stuff. This was my favorite Blur song when I first got into them, and the themes are pretty similar to “Charmless Man” although a little less pointed. Very catchy.
- End of a Century
I love this song so much (that doesn’t say a whole lot because I love all these songs but still, this is particularly great). It’s ridiculing the monotony of relationships past the romance stage (in fact, the first line “There’s ants in the carpet” is a reference to an ant infestation that Albarn had to handle with his then-girlfriend). No weird music for this one guys, sorry.
This song is so weird. Actor Phil Daniels narrated the speaking parts of the song, with the chorus sung by the band. It’s catchy as hell and won Best British Single at the 1995 BRIT Awards (whatever that means). Also on the lol side, Liam and Noel Gallagher made fun of this song by singing it drunk and replacing “park” with some, ahh, less nice words (below)
- This Is a Low
“This Is a Low” is another slower song that really accentuates Albarn’s singing talent (that you may not know exists by just listening to, say, Girls and Boys). It’s beautiful and sort of haunting while still being “pop”, and I think its one of Blur’s best songs ever.
- Girls and Boys
Sooo classic Britpop. Perhaps not quite as ~mature~ as some of their other stuff, but this song is hella catchy and so far away from what the band has since become which makes it that much better (and SUCH A WEIRD MUSIC VIDEO). Also I think that the Gallagher brothers have complained many times about how annoying it is (which begs the questions—“Wonderwall” isn’t??).
- Coffee and TV
This song is my absolute favorite Blur song (and not just because I love the combo of coffee and TV). It was written by guitarist Graham Coxon (instead of Albarn, the typical writer), and describes Coxon’s struggle with alcoholism. The subject matter as well as the melodies makes for a lovely yet melancholy piece. Also, the music video of an animated milk carton searching for Coxon is so cute it hurts.