by Smoke Cartel USER (119 Reviews)
June 2nd, 2006 | 15 replies

Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Pop music is fun. Everyone admits that at one time or another in their. Sure, people like to hide behind their elitist veils of snobbery under the guise of being a music aficionado. However, I can guarantee you that 90% (or more) of the individuals will sing along and tap their feet to just about any song on the Billboard Top 40. Britpop happens to be one of the more tasteful and eclectic genres of pop music. While it’s a genre with firm roots in indie music, it also manages to the maintain radio-friendliness of typical, mainstream pop music. There been plenty of bands to dabble in this genre. However, few have been as prominent as Blur. Originally formed in 1989 under the name of Seymour, Blur began from the remnants of another band, Circus. Bassist Alex James would join vocalist/keyboardist Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, and drummer Dave Rowntree, to complete the lineup. The rest, was magic. Over the next 15 years, Blur would go on to become one of their native UK’s most influential bands, and quickly expanded to the rest of the world. Even after a decade and a half, Blur continue to command a certain respect amongst bands in spanning several musical genres. Let’s just say that they’ve made an impact.

However, like all great things, Blur had to begin somewhere. Said beginning would be their debut album, 1991’s Leisure. The album is widely considered to be one of the final (and most definitive) records in the “Shoegazing" period of the late 1980s British alternative rock scene. Leisure captures the raw essence and popish characteristics that Blur would exude throughout their entire career. Hooky, catchy, and easily accessible Leisure was a strong effort even by many Britpop band’s debut standards. Remember, this category includes bands such as The Kinks, The Jam, and The Smiths. Blur have some pretty hefty peers to live up to, and they do so most impressively with Leisure.

“She’s So High" showcases the overall smoothness and appeal of Blur’s music. Simple, effective music, dreamy vocals, and an absolutely fantastic vibe, “She’s So High" is quite possibly the best way Blur could have opened their debut. “Bang" introduces the quirkier side of Blur’s music. Full of spunk and charisma, “Bang" is a fun song, showcasing unique views on society. Catchy music and lyrics are once again presented in an attractive package. “Bang" is one of several highlights of this album. “Slow Down" does anything but what the title suggests for Leisure. Rather, it adds even more energy and raw power. Harder music and tougher vocals make for a slightly more straightforward song. However, Blur’s unique sense of melody is safely intact (which is a very, very good thing). The next leg of the album is slightly more experimental, a subtle change from the upfront pop hooks that Blur have put forth so far.

“Repetition" is the first song to slow down the bounding Leisure. Aptly named for the repetitive music, “Repetition" isn’t quite as good as the three songs that precede it, but it’s still its own type of beast. “Bad Day" may draw some comparisons to Pink Floyd. It has a more spacey sound to it. It’s an interesting song, and accents how versatile Blur can be. “Sing" is probably the most boring song on the album. While it isn’t inherently bad, it just tends to drag on for a little too much time. Solid song construction, including the good vocals and great instrumentation (particularly towards the end of the song) save it from being a total snooze fest. At 6:01, “Sing" may not be considered to be too long for many artists, but a song of that much longevity just doesn’t mesh well with the overall feel of Leisure.

“There’s No Other Way" is the definitive Blur song. It’s a pop classic, an absolute masterpiece. It’s as hooky as twelve year old’s braces after he’s eaten too much rock candy, and as catchy as an All-Star MLB third baseman. It’s seriously just that good. One of the strongest songs on the album, there’s no other way to appreciate Blur if you can’t appreciate this song. “Fool" keeps the mood of elation going strong. Louder music is overlain by taut vocals, singing well-written lyrics. The drumming is especially impressive on “Fool." Another great song to add to the impressive catalog that Blur have already established (eight songs into their career, at this point!). “Come Together" is a very catchy song. It’s likely to be playing on “repeat" in the cavities of your brain for quite a while after you hear it. Tell me if you need professional help or something to forget this song (I’m not sure if I need to take such drastic action yet).

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more laidback song than “High Cool." This track just exudes a feeling of pure relaxation. It’s a great song to just “chill to." Of course it’s easy to see why: fantastic musicianship; simple yet effective, and ever-addictive Blur attitude make this one a real winner. “Birthday" is an extremely quiet, extremely tranquil song. It’s a tad melancholy sounding to the start, as opposed to the rest of Leisure. It’s still a good song, though; it just doesn’t mix well with the mood of the album on the whole. The final song on Leisure is the ever-pleasing “Wear Me Down." One of the greatest songwriting triumphs on the album, “Wear Me Down" is as excellent a way to end an album as “She’s So High" was to begin one (which means it’s a pretty damn good choice in this slot).

Blur are one of those bands that just kind of suck you in. They’re just so appealing, that it’s hard not to enjoy their music. Leisure may not be the greatest work they’ve ever done, but it’s still a very fine album. You know what that means, don’t you? All you purists had best drop your veils, because Blur are an experience that need experiencing. Check them out.

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user ratings (269)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

For an album that's rather forgotten amongst their others, there a few classics on here, including 'She's So High' and 'There's No Other Way'. Great review and good to see some more Blur fans on here.

June 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 2.0

This was a good review for a not so good album. While it doesn't even come close to being as good as other Blur albums it fails to stand up well on it's own.

The Jungler
June 3rd 2006


Good job, Hep Kat. I like Blur, though I can't say I have heard this.

January 13th 2007


I'm getting into this band llately.

October 12th 2009


Underrated Album.

April 5th 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

It's not bad, but it's probably their worst album. Post Madchester bandwagon.

August 26th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

album rules

August 26th 2011


review is bettr

April 24th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

is that all i give u

October 9th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Weird looking back and remembering how much of a massive band Blur were in the early/mid 90s. Sing and Birthday have to be two of the most downbeat tunes ever released by a band who had rows of screaming girls line up at their shows.

Digging: Six Finger Satellite - The Pigeon Is The Most Popular Bird

October 19th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Average rating is shamefully low.

Digging: Guided by Voices - Forever Since Breakfast

October 19th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

agreed prefer this to half their discog

April 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

she doesnt help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

April 2nd 2014


Modern Life is better but this rules

April 21st 2015


#67 for 1991 with a 2.8?

Was 1991 like a really bad year for music or what?

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