Friday, 10 May 2013

Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish is 20 years old today

Today is May 10th 2013, and exactly two decades ago today Blur released their classic second album 'Modern Life Is Rubbish'. At the time it was just a moderately successful album by a declining indie band that only just reached number 15. 20 years on it's now regarded as a sea change in British music and the beginning of an exciting era. 


I remember when I first heard it... John Hanson was one of my Dad's friends, and me and my brother often used to go out on day trips with him and his son Wilf. I have great memories of those days, the laughs we used to have, and the brilliant music John would have on in the car. That's where I first heard Julian Cope, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and more importantly an Essex band called Blur. 

They had released an excellent album called 'Modern Life Is Rubbish', and something about these songs struck me. It was smart, intelligent and very catchy indeed. Every note appealed to me in a major way, and I was fully aware what I was hearing was a work of genius. I remember being so impressed I asked John to record me a copy onto tape, with tracks from Blur's first album 'Leisure' on side two. I didn't know it at the time, but lots of others were also discovering how awesome this band were, and something was beginning to happen. Something that would soon change the direction of popular music and inspire a generation of people to form bands...


Modern Life Is Rubbish came at a difficult point in the band's career. If they didn't get this one right, there's every chance that they would have been dropped by their label and probably unable to evolve into the legends they would soon become. In a musical climate dominated by American grunge, Blur reinvented themselves as the musical embodiment of pure Englishness. Combining Bowie with Syd Barrett and The Kinks with The Jam, yet still not having the slightest hint of imitation, the second album suggested that Blur had found an identity of their own. There were big singalongs like 'For Tomorrow' and 'Sunday Sunday', excitingly noisy punk moments like 'Advert' and the brief insanity of 'Intermission', as well as sumptuously lovely tracks like 'Blue Jean' and 'Resigned'.

The LP kickstarted an era when bands weren't afraid to sound uniquely British and guitar bands such as Blur would soon find themselves positioned at the top of the charts. 20 years on and with the mainstream in a dire state, we'd give anything for an album like 'MLIR' to come and shake things up all over again. 


If you have Spotify then celebrate 20 years of this brilliant landmark record by giving it a list, along with a bonus disc of B sides and rare tracks from the era.




No comments:

Post a Comment