Imagine, you’re at school and you feel a little different from everyone else. Not in a way that makes you special or some kind of teenage maverick genius. Just a bit different in an ordinary way. You find solace in music. You obsessively read NME, Melody Maker and Select every week. Holding on to every word spoken by every musician, like these music publications are your version of the bible. You enthusiastically bang on about your favourite songs, your favourite lyrics and your favourite guitar riffs to your bemused friends, who are wondering why you aren’t just satisfied with listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack like everyone else. Then you meet someone at school, who is just like you. Is as obsessed with music as you are. Who happily listens to you endlessly talk about music, who has as much to say about it as you, who listens to all your recommendations and loves them as much as you do and who is magically also obsessed with the same British band. A band who released a mediocre debut album (in 1991), but you both love them anyway. It was their championing of subculture that got you both, it was their lyrics, it was the sound of their guitar, their trail-blazing celebration of British culture and yes, it also happened to be the prettiness of their lead singer and bassist.
I’m talking about Blur of course. It was my friendship with my fellow Blur loyalist and our need to see what else was out there outside of our hometown that led us to following Blur around on their tours, somehow ending up at their after show parties (uninvited), where I may or may not have done the following: vomited on Damon Albarn’s Adidas trainers, gifted Alex James with a poem a wrote about stars (CRINGECRINGEFUCKINGCRINGE), my friend and I drank their whole rider of wine without their permission, Graham gave me a packet of cigarettes when I’d just asked for one, I questioned Emma from Lush on when her baby was due (she wasn’t pregnant), I tried to kiss Food Records boss Andy Ross, I actually did kiss Phil Daniels in exchange for an access all areas backstage pass for me AND my friend and my mum accosted Damon outside a venue they had played at, much to mine and my friend’s horror as we were just leaving a Blur’s aftershow party feeling particular cool. That quickly dissipated seeing my mum wagging her finger in Damon’s direction. Damon and Dave were always very kind, polite and respectful. Graham was bit of a dick, but in a funny and likeable way. Alex was just a dick (but so pretty). We went on every tour of theirs, but the access into their parties soon came to an end once they became hugely successful. There was no sneaking into aftershow parties at Wembley. Quaffing riders aside, from the first album their music went from strength to strength until for me personally it dipped a bit circa 1995. From 1997, Blur returned to form with a new sound and one of their best albums, reinventing themselves in a way that their key rivals Oasis were never capable of (for the record the notorious “battle of the bands” in 1995 between Oasis and Blur when they both vied for the no.1 slot, was just embarrassing. Both records were equally dire). Blur have been together for 30 years now and in celebration of this here are my favourite songs and albums by them. There’s a Spotify playlist at the end for you all because I love you.
8. The Great Escape (1995, no.1)
7. The Magic Whip (2015, no.1)
6. Leisure (1991, no.7)
5. Think Tank (2003, no.1)
4. 13 (1999, no.1)
3. Blur (1997, no.1)
2. Modern Life is Rubbish (1993, no.15)
1. Parklife (1994, no.1)
Top 20 Songs
20. You’re So Great (1996, album track, Blur)
19. Sunday Sunday (1993, no.26, Modern Life is Rubbish)
18. Under the Westway (2012, no.34, non-album single)
17. Beetlebum (1997, no.1, Blur)
16. Entertain Me- Live it Remix (1995, B-side for The Universal and original version from The Great Escape)
15. Tender (1999, no.2, 13)
14. Popscene (1992, no.32, non-album single)
13. There’s No Other Way (1991, no.8, Leisure)
12. Theme From an Imaginary Film (1994, B-side for Parklife)
11. Young and Lovely (1993, B-side for Chemical World)
10. Coffee & TV (1999, no.11, 13)
9. Battery in Your Leg (2003, album track, Think Tank)
8. Out of Time (2003, No. 5, Think Tank)
7. End of a Century (1994, no.19, Parklife)
6. No Distance Left to Run (1999, no.14, 13)
5. Sing (1991, album track, Leisure)
4. Girls & Boys (1994, no.5, Parklife)
3. For Tomorrow- Visit to Primrose Hill extended version (1993, no.28, Modern Life is Rubbish)
2. Song 2 (1997, no.2, Blur)
And my all time favourite Blur song is…
1. This is a Low (1994, album track, Parklife)
The one that almost made it: The Wassailing Song. This was given out free on 7″ vinyl at a Christmas Blur gig I went to in Fulham in (if my memory serves me right) 1992. It’s a cover of a traditional British Christmas song and this vinyl was one of my most prized possessions. However, I have no idea where it is now (sad face).
This post is dedicated to my mate Angela. My fellow Blur loyalist.
Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Blur tune below.
See you next week for my top Pulp songs!
For other musical artist top tunes click on the link:
Beatles Björk The Cure George Michael Kylie Minogue Madonna Prince Pulp Suede Tori Amos