With ’90s Britpop stalwarts Pulp about to play their first show in the United States in something like 15 years, the next great hope among stateside Anglophiles was Blur. Easily the most esoteric of U.K. chart-toppers, Blur cranked out seven albums’ worth of constantly evolving music that morphed from measured pop to sprawling genre-hopping art rock (especially on those last few albums).
The band called it quits after the release of 2003’s Think Tank, only to reunite a few years later for a handful of one-off shows and festival appearances (with Albarn still devoting equal time to Gorillaz-related projects and that wacky band with a guy from the Clash), and they even found time to record a pair of new songs (2010’s “Fool’s Day,” and the approaching release “Under the Westway”). With a big show coming up as part of the closing ceremonies at this summer’s Olympics, surely this meant the next step for a new Blur album, right?
Sadly, wrong. In an interview with The Guardian, Albarn noted that the band did not plan to record any more new songs, and that the Olympics-ending show (scheduled for August 12 in London’s Hyde Park) would likely be their last. “In all likelihood, I would say,” Albarn said of the end of the band.
In fact, he also put his other much-beloved band to bed, noting that visual collaborator Jamie Hewlett had already moved on and the chances of new music coming under the Gorillaz name are “unlikely.” Of course, Albarn has plenty to distract him, including the sorta-opera Dr. Dee and his new band Rocket Juice & the Moon.
Still, it’s disappointing that Blur is saying goodbye (again). The live version of “Under the Westway” is killer, and the rest of Blur’s catalog would sound pretty awesome coming out of giant amphitheater speakers.
In loving memory of a great band, enjoy the aptly titled “Death of a Party,” from the band’s self-titled 1997 album.
And just because they’ve earned it, here’s a bonus song: “Country House,” from 1995’s exceptional The Great Escape, if only because it’s wonderful and also scored a victory for Blur against Oasis during the ’90s Britpop Wars (Oasis released their own single, “Roll With It,” on the same day, and were bested by “Country House” on the U.K. singles chart).
What’s your favorite Blur song? Feel heavy metal in the comments.
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