Why I Love Blur

It always annoys me that people just think of Song 2 or Parklife when they think of Blur. There was so much more to the band than that, and Damon Albarn is a fantastically accomplished songwriter. They were an energetic, compelling live band, and – as anyone who drank in Camden’s Good Mixer or Spread Eagle back in ’94 can attest – very nice people.

Here’s why you should love them, too.

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After a miserable time in America, Blur decided to embrace their Britishness, typified by this Kinks-inspired song. I love how it builds from something not particularly interesting into that epic string-laden gospel bridge that remains strangely understated at the same. Relentlessly infectious stuff.

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My favourite track from the band’s self-titled fifth album – a lo-fi, Beck-influenced, atmospheric and funky little number.

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Just an absolutely magnificent video, accompanying a song of which Ray Davies would be proud.

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Badhead is simply good songwriting – if you’re going to do straightforward guitar pop, this is how to do it. Alex’s bass playing is really what distinguishes it. There’s No Other Way was the band’s first single – released in April 1991 – and I remember setting the VCR for the following Top of the Pops after hearing it because it was inconceivable that it wouldn’t be a hit. Although it sits smack-bang in the middle of the Madchester/Baggy music of the era, it’s arguably the best track of its type. The “please don’t kill our singer” bit after Damon stagedives into the eye-wateringly huge crowd is hilarious.

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One of those songs that jumps down into the hole with you and pulls you up when you’re feeling sad. A very uncomplicated, absolutely heart-rending epic.

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A striking homage to Last Year at Marienbad

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… and here’s the duet version with Françoise Hardy.

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