Blur
The Best Of (Special Edition)


4.0
excellent

Review

by wtuo USER (4 Reviews)
May 31st, 2006 | 9 replies | 5,667 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Blur are a band I first came across when I was bored one day, checking out the Amazon marketplace, when I came across an album simply called "Blur." It was only a couple of quid, so I ordered it along with a couple of other CD's, and eagerly waited. What I received has now become one of my favourite CD's of all time. What I then wondered is if "Blur" was amazing, what would "The best of..." entail? I found that the special edition was cheaper than the original, and me being a sucker for bonus discs, I bought the 2CD edition. This 2CD set came with the original Best of disc, along with a 10 track live album, recorded at Wembley Arena in 1999.

TRACK BY TRACK

DISC ONE
1) Beetlebum
Great track which starts with just a droning guitar riff, and becomes a bit of a sprawling epic. Damon's vocals on this track are effective, and work very well along with the guitar work. The drums keep the track from droning on too much, and the little lick at the end works really well. Great start. 9/10

2) Song 2
For some reason, this track seems to have been renamed as "Woo Hoo," possible because Song 2 has no relation to it's title! This is possibly the biggest hit that Blur have had in America, and you can understand why. This track strips down Blur's usual pop-rock hooks, and leaves a thumping wedge of garage rock thanks to the thick distorted bass and guitar, and the thunderous drums. 2 minutes of pure perfection. 10/10

3) There's No Other Way
The intro to this track reminds of the Happy Mondays, with it's techno style drums, although this track has got a great chorus (as most Blur songs do). This is more in the style of the Britpop we're used to. 7/10

4) The Universal
Much calmer track compared to the previous three, with Damon taking a much deeper tone in his singing, and the first time we hear a string section on the album. Anthemic chorus, powerful in contrast to the verse. Graham's guitar parts are minimalistic, but they add to the texture of the track. 8/10

5) Coffee & TV
This track is a great example of where they were heading after the end of the "13" album. This track stuck out on "13" because it's almost like a return to the early style Blur material. Coxon's "great" guitar solo can be seen in two ways, the first being an epic solo due to the crazy sounds and the fact it is totally random towards the otherwise melodic accompaniment, or terrible because it is just noises against the backing. Clever, witty lyrics are Albern's forte, and he doesn't fail here. 8/10

6) Parklife
The classic track for Brits, this would be one of Blur's greatest hits in the UK, thanks to Phil Daniel's legendary performance in the verses. Another anthemic chorus, with Damon's trademark long held notes. Short but sweet, and a great track. 10/10

7) End of a Century
Calmer track again, with some more great lyrics from Damon. Nice riff from Coxon in this track, otherwise, nothing special really. Nice vocal harmonies around the 1:40 mark. Not a big fan of this track. 6/10

8) No Distance Left to Run
Yet another style from the band, as Coxon produces some hypnotic sounds, and Damon's soothing vocals. A real heart-felt ballad, which is a great track to listen to in order to calm yourself down etc. Very effective, although I think it could have been used later on the disc, as it seems a bit out of place in the middle. 7/10

9) Tender
The football chant as I like to call it. This track was very popular around the time of Euro 2000, and it's easy to see why with it's anthemic qualities, and the chorus of "Come on, come on, come on, get though it," lyrics which were used to inspire. Great track, although a radio edit would have been appreciate I think on a Greatest Hits collection, as it seems a little long. 8/10

10) Girls & Boys
Dancy track from the "Parklife" era. This track was extremely popular in the UK, and has earned itself "Classic Track" material. Although Coxon doesn't play an awful lot in this song, what he does play is gold, completely juxtaposing the disco style beat and melody. 8/10

11) Charmless Man
Short, sweet pop-rock song, with some cool guitar work, effective bass work, and the piano at the beginning of the first verse is a cool change of pace. Typical Blur passage of "Na na na na na"'s to send the track. 8/10

12) She's So High
From the sound I'd guess this is the same era as There's No Other Way, with that "Happy Mondays" sound, although this track isn't as good. The vocal melody seems weaker on this track which is a shame. Even Coxonís guitar isnít quite as good here. 5/10

13) Country House
Another big hit from Blur, has itís similarities to Parklife for itís sharp witted lyrics. This track is very layered, and is a nice change in sound, with the usual guitar-bass-drums attack, along with brass instruments, piano and overdubbed and harmonized vocals. As a result of this, the track is very full sounding, and it gives this track a very uplifting sound. Thereís a cool break in the middle for some harmonized vocals, to break back into the loud chorus. Great feel good song. 9/10

14) To the End
This track reminds me of a mix between elevator ďmusak" and 60ís film scores. A weird one even by Blurís standards. In the same sort of music as The Universal, but I think The Universal is a much stronger track than this is. Not pointless, but sounds more like an album filler track rather than a stand out single. 6/10

15) On Your Own
Another track from the great ďBlur" album. Coxonís opening guitar riff is chaotic and melodic at the same time. The way track builds up and down with different layers is cool, and the kick drum beat keeps everything together as if it were a march. Again, canít see this as a stand out track, although itís a great album track. 8/10

16) This Is A Low
Iím sad to say Iíd have to agree with the title of this track. This isnít a great track, although the end does save this track from mediocrity. This song does kind of blur (excuse the pun) into the other tracks. 6/10

17) For Tomorrow
Change of pace again with an upbeat rocker with more brass instruments and cool guitar licks. At six minutes, this sure isnít a short song, and it definitely feels long, although I think this is a very good track, and better than the preceding tracks (except On Your Own). 7/10

18) Music Is My Radar
Crazy fuzz is the only way I can explain this track. Cool, quirky little track, with some mental distortion on the left channel! The drumbeat on this track is quite funky, and the bass is effective. Bit of a strange ending track, but I suppose it sums Blur up really, strange. 7/10

DISC TWO
1) Sheís So High [Live]
Not a bad rendition of Sheís So High, although there is a lot of reverb on all these tracks, which can make Coxonís work hard to make out sometimes. Damon hits all the high notes in this track, and nothing sounds horrible really. Why they chose this track to open the gig is beyond me. 5/10

2) Girls & Boys [Live]
Great live rendition of an old classic, which Damon introduces as ďRightÖ. 1994". Plenty of attitude in the vocals, and it sounds overall great, although the guitar is somewhat too quiet for my liking. Sounds great. 9/10

3) To The End [Live]
There are tracks on this disc that I wonder why they are on here, and this is one of them. Seems like a strange track to play live, but they pull it off without a hitch really, and the crowd seemed to love it. 6/10

4) End Of A Century [Live]
This track sounds great stripped down from the produced version on the album to this raw performance you hear here. Damon puts a bigger amount of emotion into the vocals, and I think it sounds superb. 8/10

5) Stereotypes [Live]
First track on here that doesnít feature on the Greatest Hits disc. One of the better tracks taken from ďThe Great Escape". This version stays true to the album version, giving a good rendition of the song. Great lead-in for the next song. 8/10

6) Charmless Man [Live]
Full of energy, coupled with a great song, equals an awesome live track. This is exactly what you get with this. Charmless Man is one of the best live tracks on this disc just simply because it has bounds of energy, and I could imagine it would give the crowd some energy as well.

7) Beetlebum [Live]
Damonís singing on this track is a bit dubious, sometimes fluctuating from the tune somewhat horribly (example: about 1:45), and Coxonís guitar sounds quite feedback prone. This track inspires a crowd sing-along, which is always a good thing for a live gig. Not one of the best live renditions on this disc. 7/10

8) M.O.R. [Live]
One of my favourite Blur tracks, which sadly is omitted from the Best Of disc. Plenty of energy in this one, although I think the live rendition on Bustiní & Droniní is superior, for itís pure beefy sound. The recurring problem with this disc is that the guitar is just not edgy enough, probably due to the fact itís so low in the mix. Nice ending thoughÖ. 7/10

9) Tender [Live]
This track must be a live favourite, due to the fact itís basically as big an anthem as Song 2. Nice to hear Coxonís vocals shinning out in this track, a fact that was overlooked before he became a solo artist. Cool live rendition of an anthem. 9/10

10) No Distance Left To Run [Live]
At this point you might expect a big rocky number to finish the disc off, but thatís not Blurís style. A beautiful heart-felt track from the ď13" album, this shows off the bands true talent, and is a sorely overlooked track. 9/10

OVERALL
This is a great ďGreatest Hits" package, despite itís missing a lot of the great tracks that Blur have accomplished, which is a great shame, and it includes a couple of tracks which I think could have been substituted for tracks like M.O.R or Stereotypes, but I think as a starting point this is a great start to a Blur collection. Is it worth getting the bonus CD? Not really, although itís useful to know that I found the 2CD version was CHEAPER than the 1CD version, so you never know! Blur are worthy of so much more praise than they get. For further listening, Iíd suggest the self-titled album, and Parklife, mainly because itís probably their finest era.
8/10


user ratings (28)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bron-Yr-Aur
May 31st 2006



4405 Comments


Decent review. The main problem is that as the review goes on, your track descriptions get shorter and shorter. Still, nice job. Eh what the hell. I'll give you a vote.

The Jungler
May 31st 2006



4827 Comments


Allright review, though you might want to beef up some of track descriptions. Have a pos though.
I love Blur though. The Universal is deffianetly a great track, I actually thought it was Bowie the first time I heard it.

morrissey
Moderator
May 31st 2006



1688 Comments


Love Blur. "To the End", "Parklife", "Girls and Boys" and "End of a Century" are just lovely. Basically everything off Parklife, which is one of my favourite albums.

Hatshepsut
May 31st 2006



1997 Comments


Yeah you might wanna read the review over and add some detail, but all in all it was a pretty good review. Good work.

211dave112
June 1st 2006



2 Comments


good review of a great album

jaredrl
June 2nd 2006



99 Comments


not bad. kinda sucks.

the_accents
June 13th 2006



38 Comments


I'm going to check these guys out for the first time. Good review.

Rhinosaur
October 12th 2009



19 Comments


You rated "This is a Low" far too low, I would say that is Blur's best song.

EasternLight
October 12th 2009



2700 Comments


WOO HOO



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