Review : Blur - Blur 21: The Box
BbcBlur. They barged into indie just as the baggy dream dissolved nastily, rising triumphant against both the oiks of Oasis and the dandies of Suede. Exhibiting a Bowie-like restless creativity, the band expressed ideas enough to conjure parallels with Dinosaur Jr, The Kinks, Tony Allen, Scott Walker and more. They annoyed as many people as they pleasured. And now they might have made it to the end.
The facts: 21 is a box containing 18 CDs and three DVDs. It features all of Blur’s seven studio albums in expanded editions with attendant B sides, alongside four discs of demos, off-cuts and out-takes that the band found in their lofts. Sixty-five of these tracks are previously unreleased. It would take you well over 18 hours to listen to 21 in one sitting. Also included is a seven-inch of Superman, recorded at one of their first gigs trading under the pre-Blur name of Seymour.
Each album has its charms. There’s the ‘baggy-killing’ early promise of Leisure, which preceded the Britpop-inventing Modern Life Is Rubbish. The band’s imperial phase produced Parklife, as well as the troubled and darker The Great Escape. The lo-fi charms of Pavement inspired Blur’s eponymous fifth set; after that came 13’s air of heartbreak and the more exotic areas hinted at in Think Tank. All seven have been remastered and are available individually in expanded packages...full text
SmokecdsAll seven studio albums are collected with over 5½ hours of unreleased material including 65 previously unreleased tracks and more than twice as many rarities, 3 DVDs, a collector’s edition book featuring rare and unseen photos and a new and exclusive interview with the band, and a special limited edition Seymour 7-inch vinyl. The box will also include a digital download code for the albums and all bonus material.
The collection – which sees the first 5 albums re-mastered by Frank Arkwright in Abbey Road Studios – has been fully overseen by Graham Coxon and producer Stephen Street.
Highlights of the box include early versions of tracks recorded for Leisure, bare bones early demos of the classic singles ‘For Tomorrow’ and ‘Beetlebum’, previously unheard songs ‘Saturday Morning’ and ‘Hope You Find Your Suburbs’ and never released sessions with Bill Laswell and the legendary session with XTC’s Andy Partridge. Other rarities are ‘Don’t Bomb When You’re The Bomb’, ‘The Wassailling Song’ and ‘Fools Day’ which appear on CD for the first time. DVD material includes Live at Alexandra Palace 1994 and Live at Wembley ‘The Singles Night’ 1999....full text
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