Blur (1997), the 5th studio album from British pop/rock band Blur, broke wildly with the sounds of their previous album, The Great Escape, whose wild success had catapulted the band to international fame. Feeling that the Britpop mantel painted on them was limiting their creative capacity, Blur went lo-fi and added more alternative rock to their sound, stunning critics and fans alike. What appeared was a mixture of short punk, haunting instrumentals, and eccentric pop which displays the bands penchant, and ability, to buck trends and do so with joy and verve. The lo-fo production lends a very unique sound to the album - a sound which propelled it to the top of the US and UK charts. Best known for the hits, 'Beetlebum' and, 'Song 2,' Blur is a deep, amazing adventure into the minds of its band members, and shouldn't be missed by fans.
By early 1997, British pop had become less a scene than a competition, so with this album, Blur's frontman Damon Albarn basically announced that he was withdrawing from the race, in favor of exploring other kinds of rock he'd been getting into. Most of Blur
finds the band discovering the clipped structures and oblique words of American indie rock (the best hook on the album goes "woo-hoo!"), and that's a liberating strategy. Without having to exemplify England's Dreaming
, Albarn can be tuneful and playful, and even when he cribs directly from his favorite records ("M.O.R." is pure Bowie, and "You're So Great" tries for Guided by Voices-style non-production), his gift for texture puts his stamp on these songs. --Douglas Wolk