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Feature: The Essential Blur

By ; April 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM 

10. “Charmless Man”

Honestly, who doesn’t know their claret from their beaujolais? Anyone who has ever encountered an insufferable dickhead in life will find something to like about “Charmless Man”. Albarn plays up the sneer in his voice as he colourfully describes one of the more unpleasant people that he’s had the misfortune of meeting. The mocking but light-hearted ‘na-na-na’s enure that things stop short of self-seriousness.

9. “Caramel”

A post-rock inspired offering, where Blur don’t play to any particular strength but are still handsomely rewarded. Disintegrating vocals and a more abstract instrumental arrangement really go a long way to capture Albarn’s desperation and aimlessness following his failed relationship. Not as contagious as some of their more traditional work, but fascinating in the way it does so much with so little.

8. “End of a Century”

Pre-millennial disillusionment was a favourite of Blur’s, and this is one of the saddest presentations that they made on that theme. With gleaming guitars, Albarn’s terrifically distraught vocals and a chorus that begs to be shouted along to, “End of A Century” is a shining example of Blur’s gift for making the mundane sound gorgeous.

7. “Song 2”

“The ‘woo-hoo’ song”, as it has come to be known on this side of the pond, was actually a watershed moment for Blur. Venturing on into true alt. rock territory for the first time, this is mindless, adrenalizing fun, built for sporting arenas and begging to be covered by your cousin’s garage band. Of course, none of this takes anything away from the fact that “Song 2” contains what is possibly the band’s most effective hook.

6. “Country House”

Beginning with that iconic running feet bassline, Blur were off to the races on The Great Escape. One of their more eloquent offerings, Albarn’s wit is on his sleeve for all to see (“I’m a professional cynic/But my heart’s not in it”), and he doesn’t shy away from social commentary either (“Knocking back Prozac…It’s the century’s remedy”). This is about as creative as Blur got within the confines of Britpop.

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