on November 18, 2000
i don't believe that this "album" is worth 4 stars, but i gave it that score because it's impossible to ignore the quality of the songs here. every one of these is intelligent, catchy, and innovative, which makes blur stand out amidst all these good british bands that have suddenly come out of nowhere. blur is one of the best because they made cohesive, good albums, which is no small feat nowadays. the problem with this collection is that it does not do the songs justice. if you don't own "parklife" or "blur", you will miss the point of these tracks. the songs mean so much more in their proper context, which makes a good greatest hits record an impossible task for a band like blur. the same can be said for radiohead, pink floyd, etc... if you're really into their music, then you're better off owning the albums; however, if you're a casual listener, and are mostly concerned with the hits, maybe this will suit you. the bonus live disc probably isn't worth it even to serious fans, unless you simply love live recordings.
on December 26, 2000
Ever since forming in 1990, Blur have been well-renowned for their music, and its varying styles. Now, with a new album on its way in mid-2001, they release their current 'Best Of', oddly entitled 'The Best Of Blur'. But anyway, here's the rough review: The album has all types of pop music, from the mellow 'Tender' to the chirpy 'Parklife' to the heavy guitar-laden 'Song 2'. Of course, both chart-toppers are here, with the particularly brilliant 'Country House' showing off its true class. The highlights? 1) the Cheerful (Parklife; Girls and Boys) 2) the Beautiful (Tender; This Is A Low) 3) the Thoughtful and Meaningful (believe it or not, Country House) ...and well, the downright odd... (Music Is My Radar) In a summary, for Blur fans without all the albums: this is a must-buy. However, the only other reason for buying this (if you do own all the albums) would be the add-on live songs, which can be found (with the actual album) at generally the same price.
So, the end of an era? Of course, but only if they stop now...
on February 6, 2004
Blur is both a great singles band and a great albums band. The Best of Blur focuses on its prowess as a singles band, and in this regard might more correctly be called "Blur's Greatest Hits." (If I may split hairs, it seems to me that a CD called "Greatest Hits" should include pretty much only hit singles, while one titled "Best Of" should more fully represent the artist's "best" material, including hit singles and album tracks.) Nit-picking aside, The Best of Blur serves as a perfect model for a worthwhile (and worth the money) compilation. First, with 18 tracks, it features about three-quarters of the singles that charted in the US and UK, plus one well-chosen album cut and a new song for good measure (the fact that about a half-dozen chart singles are missing is indicative of what a successful band Blur was in the 90s). Moreover, the content of this disc leaves no question as the overall quality of Blur's output. Finally, while this can only be realized in hindsight, The Best of was released at an ideal time, as the recording of Blur's 2003 release Think Tank would mark the beginning of a new era for the band.
The most obvious shortcoming of this disc is that it slights Blur's superb second CD, Modern Life Is Rubbish, by including only one of its tracks, "For Tomorrow." The most inexplicable omission would be the the proto-Britpop single "Popscene", but the singles "Chemical World" and "Sunday, Sunday" are also missing. As it happens, however, this weakness is turned into a strength by leaving room for the inclusion of three tracks from its more experimental (i.e., less poppy, more personal) sixth CD 13. Here's how that works: "For Tomorrow" serves as a great teaser for the Modern Life CD, which is brimming with great tracks, and should be owned by anyone who likes what they hear on The Best Of. Moreover, 13 is not the place to start for someone who is being introduced to Blur. Hence, the disc both whets the listener's appetite and fills his or her plate. If the tracks from 13 don't quite click with the listener (and there is no reason why they shouldn't), at least he or she will have three of the best tracks from that CD here. And the absence of the singles from Modern Life gives one all the more reason to buy that CD, which anyone with more than a passing interest in the band - or in good music in general - should do anyway.
From Blur's other discs, you basically get all the singles: two of the three from Leisure, all four from Parklife (plus the album track "This Is A Low"), three of the four from both The Great Escape and Blur, and all three from 13. (Two of the missing singles, "Stereotypes" - from The Great Escape - and "M.O.R." - from Blur - are included in live versions on a limited 2-CD edition.) Also included is a decent new track,"Music Is My Radar,"
which sort of foreshadows - for better and for worse - the direction Blur would take on its next studio album. While some of the hits are better than others, none of them are sub par as songs, and they all belong on what is likely to be the first Blur purchase for many listeners, especially American ones. And while some may complain about the non-chronological order of the songs, the sequencing actually does a very good job of accentuating both the variety and continuity of Blur's catalog.
The bottom line is that a compilation should be practical: it should serve as an introduction to encourage you to buy more by the artist, or it should be comprehensive enough to prevent you from having to buy anything else. That said, The Best Of Blur is unlikely to save you any money, but it will make you happy to spend the extra that you do. If this is the place you start, it is unlikely to be the place that you stop. There are simply too many terrific songs on the band's studio discs for any compilation short of a box set to be truly comprehensive. All the same, this is a great compilation to have even if you own the other discs, as it puts almost all of the band's hits in one place. (I had four other Blur CDs when I bought The Best of. Modern Life, Parklife, and The Great Escape are also great places to start.)
Clearly, The Best of Blur succeeds at being a model compilation. Now, does this model compilation contain great songs? In a word, yes. For the most part, it is catchy, distinctly British pop, with sophistication, some keen social commentary, and an impressive amount of variety considering that it contains music recorded in a span of less than a decade. The songs are alternately entertaining and poignant, and usually both. In short, this disc is an essential chapter in the history of British popular music. Sure, the lyrics may not always be terribly profound, and there may be one too many "na na na" or "la la la" sections to fill space, but if that were a crime in pop music, then many artists would have to plead guilty. But reviews of the individual records is the place to talk about the songs, and if you are interested in checking out Blur for the first time, I assume that you are reading those as well. At the same time, however, you are probably wondering if this compilation is worth investing in. Put it this way: the songs on The Best of Blur are the ones that made this group one of the most popular British bands of the 90s. As a whole, they suffice to show that while Blur may not be as great as The Kinks or The Jam (and that is too tall of an order for any band to fill), they are truly their worthy heirs.
Long Live Blur!
on May 31, 2001
Having seen my brother buy album after album from these blokes, I got a really good sense of Blurs' sound. And yet, I could never be bothered to purchase one for my self. It's not that I didn't like them, my tastes in muzik were bringing me in different directions. Well, no more. I saw The Best Of in the store for [price], looked at the track listing and saw some songs that I knew I liked; Boys and Girls, Charmless Man, Parklife, Song 2(sans Intel advert) so on and so forth.
Long story short, this album is fantastic.
And, as a newcomer, so to speak, what better place to start than the tried and tested best tracks? (Currently grooving to Music is My Radar). Now to go and bolster my collection with all their albums. I am hooked.
As a funny foot note, I can remember the days of Oasis endlessly bagging on Blur. Really in the most rude and vile of ways. "I hope they get AIDS", and much worse. Well, those battles are long over, and Oasis has slipped into the kind of obscurity that the former Soviet Union now enjoys. Can you even give away an Oasis album these days?
on January 20, 2001
Before I got this CD I was your usual teeny bopper. You know the Nsync Britney Spears girl. But I heard Blur`s song, 'Song 2' and I thought it was pretty good. So I saw this CD in the store and said why not. So I got the CD and I was stunned by everything. I love this CD its my favorite. I told all my friends about them, and they got the CD`s. Song 2, Coffee and TV, Parklife, End Of a century, Charmless man, For Tomorrow, and Music is my radar are just a few that I love. Plus the live CD make it even better, because being a fan in the states you dont get to see them very much so hey its great. So go out and buy the best of blur cause well.. you`d be crazy not to.
on September 6, 2002
At first glance, "Blur: the Best of" appears to be an almost flawless collection of Blur songs. From the wonderful "Country House" to the sing-along "Parklife" this album holds nearly every track one could want from this British quartet.
The album begins with the first two tracks off Blur's 1997 self-titled release, "Beetlebum" and the American hit "Song 2," but any semblence of ordering disappears thereafter. Hardly a complaint, though, as the album plays like a set-list, bounding from one high to another.
The best of the best included here are: "Song 2," undoubtedly the most recognizable of Blur's songs by most American's and musically unlike the vast majority of other Blur tunes, is perhaps the most hard rocking song of the post-grunge musical scene and a curious, if not interesting, look into free association via lead singer and writer Damon Albarn. "Coffee and TV," a highlight from the 1999 album "13," a curious mix of up-tempo music and lyrics that speak of alienation and a loss of self. "End of a Century" is a song of futility over ones future that never feels forced, as if Albarn's tender voice were trying to gently protect us from leading the life he's describing. And the simply fantastic "Country House" off of 1995's (in my opinion hugely underrated) "The Great Escape."
Sadly the new song, "Music is My Radar," the final track of the album, is not as phenominal as the rest. It, along with "She's So High" from Blur's debut "Leisure," are the weakest moments of the album. "She's So High" falls into the trap of being just another Stone Roses rip-off with swirling psychedelic guitars, Albarn's words have definitely not reached their peak. "Music is My Radar," while not a bad song, does not deserve to be on an album of Blur's greatest songs. Many bands would be lucky to have a song as good as this one, but when Blur is good they are very good and "Music is My Radar" doesn't carry nearly the weight of a "No Distance Left to Run" or "The Universal."
To any Blur fan it is instantly obvious that the album is most heavily loaded with songs from the 1994 masterpiece generally considered to be the finest Blur album made, "Parklife." Five tracks - "Parklife," "End of a Century," Girls and Boys," "To the End," and "This is a Low," are included and help give the album Blur's distinct take on British society.
Perhaps the weakest point of this greatest hits is its incompleteness. Skipped entirely but for "For Tomorrow" is Blur's beautiful rendering of 1993 London: "Modern Life is Rubbish." All Blur fans will join me in a cry of "Where is 'Pop Scene' or 'Chemical World' or even 'Sunday Sunday'?" But at least we are given the one track, and it is a great one. The opening song on their prototype for the "Parklife" album completely describes what Blur is going to do to the British musical scene from that moment on: reinvention. Reinvention of what a rock song is capable of being, with intelligent lyrics and powerful music.
Included with this disc is a live album recorded at Wembley Arena, December 12, 1999. While eight of the songs have already been heard on "Blur: the Best of" the two new tracks are a welcome addition. Of particular note are "Girls and Boys" with its exhuberant audience participation, and "Tender" performed complete with a Gospel choir.
For Blur fans this is a wonderful (ignoring, of course, the absence of "Modern Life is Rubbish") collection of songs. This album also works perfectly as an introduction to Blur for new-comers to the band. All in all an excellent album, I highly recommend it to all fans of rock music.
-Justin M. Freiberg
on December 22, 2001
blur: the best of, is a brilliant compilation of the band's songs so far. The cd includes almost all of the favoured songs of Blur, and is NOT compiled in a chronological order (which is good, and managed very successfully). There is "to the end" which features the wonderful voice of Laetitia Sadier (of stereolab) and "no distance left to run", beautiful Blur tracks. A must buy, an essential both for those who own other Blur records, and for those who want to know what the band is about. The cd art is neat and clean, well done and the portraits of band members by Julian Opie are wonderful. Overall this set is a beautiful thing to own.
What is expected and needed now is a compilation of Blur videos for these tracks, which (mostly) are also innovative and beautiful pieces of work.
on December 2, 2005
Since Blur is my favorite band, it only makes sense that I would like a Greatest Hits CD, but there are actually a number of things to criticize about the Best of Blur. For one thing, this compilation was made before the Think Tank album came out. Thus, the somewhat significant Blur hit "Crazy Beat" is not featured on the Best of Blur: a shame since I would consider it to be a pretty good song by the band. Also, my three favorite Blur songs are not featured on this CD (I'm Just A Killer For Your Love, Brothers & Sisters, He Thought of Cars). I strongly believe they ought to have been included, though, because these tracks seem to most clearly display Blur's skills in that they all have amazingly catchy rhythms, dandy lyrics, and are completely original and unique. Contrary to what others say, I don't think Blur is anything like Oasis. Sure, they're both British, but Blur has much more originality, more noise, and a bit more cleverness (although I do really like Oasis too). Anyway, the Best of Blur does have its upsides too. It does after all include the non-album song "Music Is My Radar", and compile a few of the band's best songs. There is of course the track that made them famous: "Song 2", as well as their mellow yet really good song "Coffee and TV". Some selections are really crappy, though, such as some of Blur's weakest attempts at soft songs (No Distance to Run, To the End). When push comes to shove, though, this is a quite commendable "best of" CD that Blur fans ought to try out for the hard to find single "Music Is My Radar" (although it's not that great of a Blur song) as well as for the Live C.D. that comes with it, if you choose to check that version out .
on February 21, 2007
Blur are a British band who've gone through all kinds of phases musically. Emotions go through all sorts of things on a Blur album too. Makes 'em really colourful to listen to. Colourful bandmates too. Alex James on bass, Graham Coxon on guitar and backing vocals, Dave Rowntree on drums and Damon Albarn on vocals and keyboards. Damon's also in Gorillaz, while Graham Coxon plays solo these days...
"Best of Blur" has 18 tracks from 1990-2000:
2 songs from "Leisure" (1991)
1 song from "Modern Life is Rubbish" (1993)
5 songs from "Parklife" (1994)
3 songs from "The Great Escape" (1995)
3 songs from "Blur" (1997)
3 songs from "13" (1999)
Mostly singles. "Music is My Radar" (2000) is a bonus track especially for this CD. Quite like it. Curious beat, laid back singing by Damon and some fun noises from Graham on guitar. Booklet contains full lyrics for every song except for "Music is My Radar", plus some pictures of sleeves and shots from their videos in a sort of collage in the middle.
on October 30, 2000
Blur have something that Oasis will never have, and thats the art of redifining themselves everytime they come back with a new album, as you can tell from this mixed bag. From the UK number one Country House to the recent single Music Is My Radar you know that Blur will around for a long time to come. Containg tracks that have become anthems like Song 2 and Parklife to songs like Coffee And TV, you are getting everything that you want from a album, its hard to believe that they are all from the same band. All Blur die hard fans will love this and it will also appeal to the casual fan as its the best tracks from all their six albums without the album filler tracks.