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Modern Life Is Rubbish

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Audio CD, November 16, 1993
$3.71 $0.32

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Image of album by Blur


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Even the best bands, the biggest bands, the most important ones, are cosmic accidents, and a worldbeating career can hinge on a brief encounter. Blur’s story begins at Colchester’s Stanway Comprehensive School in the early ’80s, and a feisty collision between recent East London transplant Damon Albarn and local lad Graham Coxon.
“First impressions of Damon?” ... Read more in Amazon's Blur Store

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for 248 albums, 5 photos, discussions, and more.

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Modern Life Is Rubbish + Parklife + The Great Escape (Special Edition) LP
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B000002USH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,226 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. For Tomorrow
2. Advert
3. Colin Zeal
4. Pressure On Julian
5. Star Shaped
6. Blue Jeans
7. Chemical World
8. Intermission
9. Sunday Sunday
10. Oily Water
11. Miss America
12. Villa Rosie
13. Coping
14. Turn It Up
15. Pop Scene
16. Resigned
17. Commercial Break
18. When The Cows Come Home (Bonus Track)
19. Peach (Bonus Track)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

1 x CD Album
Europe 1993

1For Tomorrow4:20
3Colin Zeal3:16
4Pressure On Julian3:31
5Star Shaped3:26
6Blue Jeans3:54
7aChemical World4:02
8Sunday Sunday2:38
9Oily Water5:00
10Miss America5:34
11Villa Rosie3:55
13Turn It Up3:22
14bCommercial Break0:56


Until this album, Blur was just another English dance-pop band recycling '60s guitar licks and that tired Manchester beat (dugga-dugga-cha, dugga-dugga- dugga-cha). But Modern Life is Rubbish turned out to be the weirdest and most endearing head-rock album since the Flaming Lips' Transmissions from the Satellite Heart. The 17 songs revel in strange chord changes, bizarre sound effects, off-kilter beats, gonzo lyrics, and English eccentricity, bringing to mind Ray Davies, Syd Barrett, and Julian Cope jamming together under the influence of what Blur calls the "Chemical World." Songs like "Colin Zeal," "Pressure on Julian," and "Sunday Sunday" boast killer hooks amid the chaos, making Modern Life Is Rubbish valuable trash indeed. --Jim DeRogatis

Customer Reviews

The album with some of the best songs blur have ever produced.
Despite this unfortunate factor, though, most of "Modern Life Is Rubbish" is great listening.
Blue Gardener
Not just Blur fans, but anyone who cares about music should own this record.
Richard Sedgley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Wheelchair Assassin on November 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
As a genre, Britpop has certainly had its moments, but too many of its more noted practitioners haven't quite been able to emerge from the overwhelming shadow of their Beatles influence (hell, Oasis don't even try). Many of these bands, or at least the ones that tend to hit here in the States, mean well, and they're certainly not without talent, but their music ultimately comes up lacking because the originality just isn't there (I'm looking your way, Coldplay). That's where Blur come in, with a sound and vision all their own. Blur's roots are in the same Beatles-derived template that a million other bands have borrowed from, but instead of appropriating this formula Blur twist it around and expand on it to create a style that's recognizably British but still unmistakably theirs. These guys take thirty years of British rock history and throw it in a blender, but what comes out is their own convention-dodging creation. And they're a lot more fun than Radiohead to boot.
The irreverent attitude of original British-invasion bands like The Who, The Beatles, and The Kinks is here in all its glory, but "Modern Life Is Rubbish" is a Britpop album for the mind. The album is filled with odd time signatures, off-center arrangements, and the kind of skewed guitar sound that you won't hear on your local modern-rock station because it's too busy playing the latest terrible Nickelback single. Damon Albarn's voice is usually a bit off-key, but since everything else here is as well, it works perfectly. Blur's quirkiness brings to mind the Flaming Lips more than Oasis, and just like with the Lips, "Modern Life Is Rubbish" isn't just weirdness for its own sake; these guys have a batch of immensely enjoyable songs on their hands.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Wilson on February 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
the little i've heard from blur's true first album, "leisure", i did not like, and many will agree that "modern life is rubbish", being so markedly different, is their first recording of true significance. maybe that's harsh, but it's also a testament to how good this record is. not as immediately enjoyable as "parklife", and not as complex as "the great escape", their other two "british" releases, "mlir" accomplishes a quasi-perfect balance that mapped out their musical direction for the next 3 years. the songs here all reek of british culture and that's a good thing, because albarn paints wonderful pictures of british life through his characters' words. as many have pointed out, blur was undergoing a sort of image makeover as they'd grown sick of the madchester, shoegazing scene that my bloody valentine and the stone roses had made so popular. this album, in many ways, ushered in the brit-pop sound of the 90s - that's a tremendous feat given blur's insignificance and the fact that critics ignored them at the time. songs like "chemical world", maybe the best here, bring back the meaningful pop hook-chorus days of the 60s, and incorporate the musical weirdnesses of bowie and the kinks. the first 9 tracks on the album are great and never let up, especially "for tommorow" and "star shaped". there's that genuine brit-feel i was talking about. the latter half of the album sags a little, but there are interesting tracks that recapture the spirit of the earlier songs, like "villa rosie" and "popscene". this is certainly an important album for blur fans and those interested in the roots of current brit-pop. casual fans of blur may not be thrilled with the album though, because it is difficult to grasp without giving it ample time to sink in, much like "great escape" and even "13".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thaddeus Wert on November 22, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I own all of Blur's cds, and this is the one I consistently pop in the cd player. Sure, some of their other releases garnered more critical acclaim, but for me this is the most endearingly fun disc of all their efforts. Song after song boasts hooks that embed themselves in your brain. Being an American, I know I don't get the full effect of this very British collection, but I still love Damon Albarn's wry observations on modern life, and Graham Coxon's guitar is brilliant. If you think the Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society" was one of the finest albums ever, then you will love this one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wanda102 on February 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Not a new release by any means, but spinning in my head for good reason.
Blur's second album, released in 1993, was a direct invite into the stormy world of Britpop, which was about to explode into mainstream. In the United States, the extension of Britpop leads only to Oasis and very early Radiohead (which is a shaky comparison at best), and often gets bogged into the sugar-pop of the Spice Girls or the alt-grunge of Bush before being recognised as its own separate and definitive category.
Blur remain the lone symbols of what was once Britpop, having just released a 7th album to number one sales and singles and receiving a recent vote of album of the year by Q magazine (surprisingly ahead of Radioheads latest). Where Suede have disbanded, reformed, disbanded, and now are allegedly reforming again, Oasis have declined to repetitive schlock, and Radiohead have turned their heads to the left-field, Blur have survived through the gentle art of constant reinvention, while still retaining a core sound.
MLIR Marks Blur first foray into what became "traditional" Brit-Pop. They tore off their 'baggy' style (enforced upon them by the execs at Food Records) and replaced it with a tongue-in-cheek cynicism that was distinctly...well...British.
While fool's gold tracks like "Sunday Sunday" and "Turn it Up" are easily mass-pleasure romps, the rest of the album is a vignette of 1993 from the UK perspective. I say this because a vignette of 1993 from the US perspective would consist of a one word answer that starts with an 'S' and ends with an 'eattle'.
The album opens with "For Tomorrow," one of the "hit singles" frontman Damon Albarn was told to write in order to get his band's follow-up to 1991's Leisure released.
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