Box Set- all the singles [up to No Distance Left To Run]
Blur (1999 Food)
22 singles and who knows how many hours of music that navigates us through the erratic trajectory of one of the best bands ever. There is a lot here: on quite a few of the early singles there are 9 B-sides! If those were released they would qualify as albums. However teacher’s warning is applicable: quality not quantity. Graham Coxon (guitarist) admitted that early on blur did pretty much release everything “Which wasn’t maybe wasn’t a great idea.” But some of the B-sides that aren’t that great musically seem to tell the blur story very well. For example the B-side ‘Daisy Daisy’, is not a great song, but epitomises their period that was taken up by their attempt to try to make people realise that there was some good music being made in England and maybe all that American stuff is not very good. The song reeks of all that is British and you can smell the tweed suits and bowler hats from your stereo. They were successful.
This success allowed the Brit pop era to be born, of which they were the spearhead and, simply, the best. Most of the remixed songs from this period are not very good but that is inevitable with B-sides.
However, their more interesting periods, the recent obscure ‘dirty’ guitar music and their early ‘arty’ periods are the most productive in terms of B-sides. The early periods are probably more interesting than excellent. For example ‘Peach’. The more recent period gives birth to some excellent B-sides like ‘Swallows in The Heatwave’, which is a lethargic grunge thrash. These sort B-sides really give you a good idea of what they are thinking and their emotional state: much more so than the Brit pop era.
This set tells the story of Blur. There is something for everyone, Brit pop, grunge, dance, jazz (! Beard, a B-side to Parklife) art college rock and, other infinitely interesting songs which can only be defined as, alternative. If you’ve got the album get this- if there are any left!