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Parklife

4.5 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 14, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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You'd have to stretch back to 1967 to London's psychedelic underground (a time and a place that Blur is admittedly fond of) to find a band that revels as much in its Britishness. And on its third album, Blur takes 30 years of cool English rock, throws it into an art-punk Cuisinart, and ends up with a masterpiece of timeless hooks and Cockney attitude. Like the Kinks at their satirical best, Blur paints warm and funny portraits of quintessentially English characters ("Tracy Jacks," "Parklife," "The Debt Collector"), delivering them with early Small Faces swagger, wiggy Syd Barrett-via-Julian Cope production, XTC circa "Respectable Street" vocal hooks ("ooh-we-ooh"), and a cynical Buzzcocks detachment. The band members are mods, of course, borrowing fashion tips from the pre-glam David Bowie, tempos from the Jam, and actor Phil Daniels (the star of Quadrophenia!) for a vocal cameo. "Magic America" is the best bored with the U.S.A. song since the Clash, Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier sings backing vocals, the Pet Shop Boys remixed the single, and the members of Blur love Wire so much that they hired that band's old road manager. But enough namedropping: Parklife is the album on which Blur proves that it's a force to be reckoned with on its own terms, described by front man Damon Albarn as a nocturnal travelogue of London; the only time the album leaves the Motherland is on its lead track, the unbearably catchy single, "Girls & Boys," which follows randy English youth on holiday to Greece. --Jim DeRogatis
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Parlophone
  • ASIN: B000002TQB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,186 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Blur is one of the last true 'album' bands in existence--that is, they focus their primary energies on making brilliant and adventurous records, à la The Beatles. Almost no band in the past decade has been so amazingly consistent, so cutting-edge and daring. "Parklife," their epochal 1994 release, still stands as the gold standard in the elustrious Blur back catalogue; it is a record that is boldly representive of its time period, yet light years ahead of it. Safely said, almost no band has ever made such a pure, diverse, and enthralling pop record, one that seems to encompass the very history of rock 'n roll. "Parklife" overflows with melody and atmosphere and Damon's lyrics unfold like a great story, jumping from one idiosyncracy of English life to the next. His characters, pulled from the everyday pages of English life, are rich and complex figures whose lives and actions beg for the listener's full attention. Yet, even if the listener is oblivious to the this record's staunch Englishness, the music is more than capable of enchanting your ear and enriching your mind. Beautiful guitar riffs, sonorous and thick bass lines, spacey organs, and sweeping horns and strings permeate these tunes. On "Girls and Boys," the catchiest bass line in the history of recorded music is intertwined with a minimalist guitar figure and a bleepy synth to make one of the best pop singles in history. On "This Is A Low," a backwards guitar figure cascades over light cymbal splashes, eventually giving way to Damon's echoey, melancholy chorus--when he longingly enunciates "This is a low/But it won't hurt you when you're alone," the hairs on my neck stand up.Read more ›
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By A Customer on February 25, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Oh man, this is just one of the BEST albums! I have to say that I'm always going back and forth between the album "Blur" (The one with the "woo-hoo" song on it) and "Parklife" for my favorite Blur album. I really wish they got more attention over here and more radio play because they always kick out great songs. "Parklife" is thoroughly enjoyable. I especially like "Tracy Jacks," "End of a Century" and "Girls and Boys." And of course that ubiquitous title tune, "Parklife." Damon Albarn isn't afraid to sound silly and really plays up that whole quaint-but-cocky British thing. This album is really a fun piece of work; you need to own it and love it! One more note: I saw Blur back in 1997 in this tiny lame club in Seattle (I'm sure they were humiliated because they place was so small and filled with teenyboppers) but they put on a GREAT show, the best live show I've ever seen. They're teriffic showmen and just darn fine musicians. Get "Parklife" and everything else they've done, they are great!
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By A Customer on December 24, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This is, along with Achtung Baby, the best album of the decade. An absolute musical masterpiece making Blur by far and away the best in the business.
There are many great things to be said about this album, the best of all being that the album encapsulates every type of British music into one. It's variety is unparalleled.
Girls and Boys is the first single and the album opener, also one of Blur's finest song's. A brilliant chorus meshed with a tune reminiscent to the Clash's London Calling, make this arguably the best song here.
End of the Century and To the End are beautifully written singles. Magic America and Jubilee are both cutting satire's on every day people. The first is a mockery of America, the second tells the story of a bored, middle class loser.
Parklife is one of the catchiest songs ever written with wonderful narration by English cult actor Phil Daniels and This is a Low is a wonderful closer that is completely different to anything else on the album.
Overall a must have.
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Format: Audio CD
I've owned this album for as many years as it's been available, and I've never gone very long without playing it. It's as densely British as The Streets or early Billy Bragg, but infinitely more accessible. It's fun and rowdy, electronic and rockin'. Its moods range from the rioutously androgynous and danceable "Girls & Boys," to the punky "Bank Holiday," to the trancey "Far Out" (which has lyrics consisting only of stars and features of outer space), to the rapid fire "Trouble In The Message Centre" and the despairing "This Is A Low." Throw in a few short, listing organ instrumentals, lots of the thickest of British accents, and great, cheeky lyrics, and you have the weird and drunken ride of an album that is "Parklife."

My wife hates it--says it sounds "too 1980s"--but I love it. I think it's among Blur's very best.
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Format: Audio CD
This ranks among the essential alternative art-pop CDs of the nineties. Pop is really not a fair term altogether, because many of the songs on "Parklife" are not very accessible. One could go on about the hooks, and the song-writing, and the diversity, blah blah blah. The bottem line is that you can never really define what makes great music, yet you know it when you hear it. Blur just has it; it's in the touch and the sound. And even in their slower tunes their exists a drive that is lacking in so many other bands who just don't get it. Blur's respect for the great artists of Britian truly enhances their already unique sound. Quoting the hooks of Bowie, early Pink Floyd, and the Kinks will never hurt your sound. What is so amazing about this band is that if they had never changed their approach after this, they still would have been great. But after "Great Escape" they begin a revamped phase that combines the best of British alternative with American indie rock. "Girls and Boys," End of a Century," "Parklife," "This is a Low," and most every other track are fantastic. It's interesting that young americans truly adore Radiohead(and deservedly so)but have not to the same degree caught on to Blur,who ranks every bit as important among the top of the British bands. Perhaps one of Amazon's reviwers put it best when they said that Blur is better than 90% of what's out there. With this in mind, you really can't go wrong with any of their CDs.
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