Blur – The Great Escape (1995)

Blur went mega after Parklife. The only problem with this afterwards was the competition, mostly from Oasis.

This album is okay, perhaps even a little underrated. It’s just not as strong as some of the other music by Blur and bands around this era in the UK. Still, a review is a review. Let’s dive in.

Stereotypes starts out with some retro 80s like synths and resumes from where Parklife ended. And therein lies the problem with the album, it is more of the same. Still, it’s very good. An English parody, and a very good one at that. It stops and starts again in the middle of the song.

Country House was the hit single off the album and has some good lines. “I’m a professional cynic, but my heart’s not in it.” Awesome. It’s a great fictional story about a dude that has very much everything in his life, or maybe not. It’s reminiscent of The Kinks, in fact.

The next song Best Days is a slow, ballad piece. It’s got some good singing on it but seems a little weak due to the pace of the song. Still, it’s a good Blur song regardless, though the lyrics are weak as well.

The next song is brilliant. Charmless Man may refer to The Smiths This Charming Man, but it’s a great catchy pop song which is a cynical look at someone detestable. It’s rather silly and listenable for sure. Party trick: recite the lyrics of this song to your friends, for a laugh of course.

Fade Away follows. Nice tune here, It’s about relationships and the poison that they can be to themselves in regards to money. The falsetto chorus is wonderful to listen to. It’s a straightforward song with dark lyrics, a good mixture of the two.

Top Man sounds incredibly dated from the word go. But it’s catchy enough, especially throughout the chorus. It’s a good mixture of interesting sounds. One cannot think at this point but how great it must have to be living in 1995. Not a bad piece.

The follow up The Universal is a vision of what may or may not in the future, many years from now. It’s got a lovely tearjerking nature to the song and sounds like a Burt Bacharach piece. Nice piece, and a good sentiment throughout. Sounds like a million dollars, even today.

A quirky song which is Mr. Robinson’s Quango comes next. Horns are everywhere, and the content is very sexual at the end. It’s a good piece, but better lyrically than musically. Worth a good listen.

He Thought Of Cars comes next. Another suburban tale of a person’s life story. It is rather dull this number, and as a result, is less listenable than the other songs on the album. A bit too long to be fair.

It Could Be You has a good riff basis with many guitars on it. It’s a quirky little number that is okay, but Blur has done better, before and since. Classic rock fans will definitely dig this number.

The next piece, Ernold Same, is a few minutes of varied instrumentation and a rather odd tale about a said character who did the same thing over and over every day. It’s a moral reminder to others to have some variety in life.

The song that follows afterwards has really awful synthesiser sounds throughout. Globe Alone otherwise is okay, but nothing great sadly. Could have been reworked easily, mind you.

Dan Abnormal is a lot better than the previous track. It’s a great story about said character. The twist in this is excellent, mind you. The lyrics are fantastic. Damon Albarn could have been a poet in his own right, or maybe just a postmodern poet in his own regard. Good stuff.

Entertain Me is a track which could have been trashed. It’s overly long and sounds a little depressing in its own way. In fact, many of the songs on the album could have been done so.

The next one songs really odd, like Glitch music. Especially at the beginning. It’s a strange romantic tale about Yuko and Hiro. This is a good tale with an ordinary musical backdrop. There is some Japanese at the end of the song. Good stuff.

Spoiler alert: hidden track. An instrumental called Ultranol is here and is merely an Ernold Same instrumental backing track. It’s a good way to finish the record.

Overall, Blur’s approach here weakened its public image. But don’t listen to others about the negativity on this album. Look on the bright side, tunes are plenty here. If you are a classy sort of person, this music may be perfect for you.

7/10

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