Blur
Midlife: A Beginner's Guide To Blur


3.5
great

Review

by robin EMERITUS
August 14th, 2009 | 14 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Good compilation.

As it stands – as the second celebratory Blur compilation – Midlife: A Beginner’s Guide To Blur is simply a more relevant second coming of its predecessor. It serves to accompany the resolution of Blur’s hazy tragedies (mostly involving guitarist Graham Coxon and the six years of rumour that followed his departure during their final effort in studio) and pinpoint a reunion tour scaling the stages of Glastonbury and Hyde Park. Aimed at the lesser educated to Blur’s legacy over Britain, the double-disc gathering seems simply put out there to get even the unknowing up for a 2009 gig sing-along, or even delving into the band’s twelve year lifespan.

It may become a debate as to whether or not a sophomore collection is needed for the Britpop quartet, since the ground covered in the original single disc worked wonders on cramming in a decade of pop. However in a sense Midlife very much works as an update to the original introduction to the band with Blur: The Best Of, in that Think Tank – the album of tension leading to guitarist Coxon waving a spat-fuelled goodbye to Albarn et al – gets the fair inclusion it couldn’t in 2000 due to its non-existence. Blur’s darkest, deepest hour was soaring on this album, and in such “Out Of Time” makes its natural best-of debut. In addition, however, the grouchy “Battery In Your Leg” – Coxon’s last contribution to the band and only sound on their final album – makes a half-unexpected appearance. Ultimately, the compilation seems more about covering ground than celebrating Blur, and thus really acts as a watered down discography. Even their soundtrack role on 1996’s Trainspotting – the slow burning six minute “Sing” that would otherwise stay forgotten on their debut Leisure – is in evidence.

Regardless, it’s not hard to hit high points trailing through the band’s material. Pretty much every base is covered: no-brainer appearances are the pop blasts “Song 2” (arguably the Londoners’ biggest moment) and “Girls & Boys”, but not forgotten are the signature moments of oddity, whether weird and playful (“Coffee & TV”) or weird and doomed (“He Thought Of Cars”). The compilation is logical and careful in its classics right down to “Parklife”, where their band makes their mark as the abnormal turn for Britpop Noel Gallagher never wanted to take. Despite choosing to abandon moments that converged both as hit singles and covered career ground – such as the rare pulse of electro in 1997’s near-rapped “On Your Own” – Midlife seems devised simply to encourage the casual listener into launching a full-grown obsession with the band’s back catalogue. And a yet more user-friendly welcome to Blur is nothing to frown on.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2009


10585 Comments


BLUR VS. OASIS!!!!!!


let it begin.....

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

Roach
August 14th 2009


2148 Comments


Blur

/thread


Great review Robin haven't listened to Blur in long.

robin
Emeritus
August 14th 2009


4261 Comments


both good

Titan50
August 14th 2009


4588 Comments


yet another reminder i need to get their albums instead of just their Best Of, despite Blur being one of my favourite bands


>>>>>>>> Oasis

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2009


10585 Comments


Parklife ruled my junior year of high school

robin
Emeritus
August 14th 2009


4261 Comments


best of is my favourite blur album really since i listen to it all the time. that and the great escape

VeryPleasantNeighbor
August 14th 2009


272 Comments


Yeah Parklife is the better album, but I listen to The Great Escape more often. "Yuko & Hiro" is just ridiculously good.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 14th 2009


20858 Comments


Yeah, saw this a few weeks back & was tempted since I don't physically have any of their albums. Might wait to see if they are coming down under this summer first.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2009


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oasis>blur imo but both are great. tbh i dont think blur have made a classic album but their best of's are also awsome

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2009


7427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

double post

VeryPleasantNeighbor
August 16th 2009


272 Comments


Honestly, I feel like their "British trilogy" albums (Modern Life..., Parklife, and The Great Escape) are basically essential, and they're pretty easy to find used on amazon for about $3. As for the self-titled and 13, seems like most of the highlights are here, sans "Nowhere Left to Run".

I should point out that I live in Wisconsin, so the full spectrum of cultural impact and/or influence is a little beyond me...it's just great music to me.

kingBowk
December 5th 2009


2 Comments


Why isn't country House on this album ?

SLA92
December 13th 2009


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

True, I dont know why country house is not here.
Still,great compilation.

HolidayKirk
Contributing Reviewer
September 5th 2012


1675 Comments


Killer summary!!!



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