Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Underrated Classic: Blur '13'

As Blur celebrated the release of their new album, The Magic Whip, earlier this year, a record that could have a place in our Top  10 slot later this month, we look back at how they closed their most successful decade -- the 1990s. In 1999, the British band released 13, the follow-up to their ultra transatlantic successful 1997 self-titled record and wore their hearts on their sleeves. 13 was recorded between June-October 1998 in both London and Reykjavik, Iceland and took their Britpop sound to a whole new level. Named after the amount of songs on the tracklisting and one of the studios they recorded in, the record was inspired by singer Damon Albarn's breakup to Justine Frischmann, is one of the more darker and dense Blur albums to date. Despite three singles, "Coffee & TV," "Tender," and "No Distance Left to Run," 13 went Platinum and was nominated for a Mercury Prize as well as having massive success in the UK, the album gained mixed reviews --- it was hailed by Pitchfork and Village Voice as one of the best albums of the year and one of the best albums of the 90s, while Spin gave it an 8/10, NME only gave it a 6.10, Rolling Stone just 3.5 stars, the LA Times just two out of five stars and Entertainment Weekly a B+. Now, 16 years later, it ranks among fans and critics as one of the best, if not the best Blur record to date.