Modern Life Is Rubbish



by Krash100 USER (3 Reviews)
November 3rd, 2005 | 42 replies

Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Blur's debut album suffered from a lot of bad timing, coming on the trail end of Madchester and the begining of grunge.* This led some critics to dismiss them as manufactured pop stars or Stone Roses ripoffs.* So Blur went back to the studio ready to reinvent themselves with their sophomore effort "Modern Life is Rubbish" (the title is taken from some London graffiti Albarn saw).*The record is full of life and Damon Albarn spins off contemporary satires that are both clever and humerous.

1.* For Tomorrow - The story is when Blur sent their label the album, the execs told the band there was no single and to write one.* The result is "For Tomorrow".* It's a good start to the album and it's immedietly evident that the band has become a lot more pop oriented since the Blur of 1991 (8.5/10)

2. Advert - The song starts off like some cheesey commercial (hence the name) with a piano line and bass.* Suddenly Graham's guitars explode onto the scene.* It's a very hard rocking track with Damon's echoey chorus "say something else!"*This should've been the opening track.*(9.5/10)

3.* Colin Zeal -* A meandering bassline opens up this track which starts slow,and jumps into a loud chorus.* Great instrumentals here and Damon's lyrics are a satire of the modern businesman (named Colin Zeal of course)* (8.0/10)

4. Pressure on Julian -* This track starts of very strangely with winding feedback and a beat heavy drum and bass.* Graham's indie inclinations show through here.* A decent song.* (6.5/10)

5. Star Shaped - A great pop tune and one of the album's best.* Blur show their talent for crafting clever melodies in the vien of classic British bands like the Beatles and the Kinks.* They even throw in an some wind instruments.* This whole song hints of Parklife. (10/10)

6. Blue Jeans - Here's the ballad you've all been waiting.* It's got a very mellow feel.* It's got some of my favorite lyrics on the album.* Not much guitar here until late in the song, but more wind and brass instruments.* (7.0/10)

7.*Chemical World - With grunge in full swing Blur's American label sent them to record and American single and "Chemical World" is the result.* As you might expect, it's quite guitar heavy, but still continues with the feel of the album.* It's a pretty pop song drenched in overdriven guitars.* (10/10)

8. Intermission - This is an instrumental filler track, but I end up listening to it because it's quite amusing.* Damon starts off a slow piano riffs and the rest of the band joins in gradually getting faster and faster until it explodes in guitar effects and utter insanity. (2.5/10)

9. Sunday, Sunday - A bouncy song with horn sections mixed with loud guitars.* The tempo picks up a lot after the second chorus and theatens to turn into something like the last track before it's brought under control again.* (8.0/10)

10.* Oily Water - Graham starts off with a strange gated guitar and Damon follows with equally strange lyrics about drinking oily water.* It's overall a mellow song and climaxes in a collage of synthesizers, guitars and backing vocals.

11. Miss America - This ballad starts off with a lot of background noise of people in the studio followed by wood blocks and acoustic guitars.* It all makes for a very intimate feel, almost like it's a live recording and not some studio take.* I used to skip this track a lot but it grows on you.*It's very relaxing.*(7.5/10)

12. Villa Rosie - After the most mellow moment on the record the band builds*this intro into a catchy riff with and Damon almost rapping through the verses.* It's an average song overall with a nice solo. (6.5/10)

13. Coping - This is probably my favorite song on this album.* It's got a great beat, very good lyrics and the bands switches nicely between acoustic and electric guitars.* Damon throws in a wild keyboard solo.* The ending is almost humerous with everyone singing "la la la laaa! la laaa! la laaa! la"** (10/10)

14.*Turn it Up - This song has a lot of pretty melodies in it, even by Blur standards.* Your almost tempted to clap along.* Graham throws down some fancy guitar work to keep it in rock territory.* (7.0/10)

15. Pop Scene - This song was originally a single that came out before the record and was added to the album later.* It's very fast paced and opens with a guitar flanger going crazy.* It was the first song Blur used horns in.* Alex James does a great job with the bass here while Rowntree pounds away at the kit.* (9.5/10)

16.* Resigned - As the title suggests, this is a ballad.** A cool guitar riff dominates the song.* Its so peacefull it could put you to sleep - and I mean that in a good way.**The*harmonica fits the mood here perfectly.* (6.0/10)

17. Commercial Break - another instrumental much like "Intermission" except this one is more guitar dominated.* Once again it gets very fast toward the end.* (1.0/10)after this there the tracks are blank until you hit the two secret tracks

62.* When the Cows Come Home -* this track is almost a waltz.* It's almost all horns and drums with some brass and wind sections.* Damon sings like he's performing for small school children.* Not my cup of tea Damon.* (3.0/10)

63. Peach - A very slow moving acoustic song with a very atmospheric sound.* A lot better than the last track.* The lead*sounds like it's played by an E-bow which gives the song a lot of emotion.* The end is a bit annoying though when it sounds like the track skips. (6.5/10)

Overall the album is a big improvement over their debut Leisure and Blur manage to overcome the sophomore jinx with flying colors.* This album is the first in what is known among Blur fans as their "Brit Pop Trilogy" and it sets them up for their 1994 masterpiece Parklife.*

Damon Albarn - Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Synths
Graham Coxon - guitars, backing vocals
Alex James -*bass guitar, backing*vocals
Dave Rowntree - drums, percussion*

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 3rd 2005


Good review, although in future could you put the band lineup at the bottom of the review please? This is quite a lot like Blur's other albums for me, in that it's a 3 or 3.5/5, without ever really threatening to get much higher.

November 4th 2005


I'm not exactly sure what all the stars are for, although I'm pretty confident it's got something to do with the new buttons that Jeremy introduced to the submit review box.

November 4th 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't put the askterisks there when I wrote it, they just kind of appeared there when I subitted the review.

November 4th 2005


Decent review and great album but not their best,that title belongs to the oustanding '13'This Message Edited On 11.04.05

May 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

i didnt get the 6o-something track version, i got the 14 track one, DAMN IT, great review and great album though

January 15th 2007


Certainly not their best album, but Modern Life is Rubbish is still brilliant. Damon Albarn is Britain's pop-rock mesiah, a title that the Oasis lads would surely like to hold.

June 17th 2008


Miss America and Oily water are massively underrated by most people. Although For tomorrow is probably the best song on the album Miss America could give it a run for it's money.This Message Edited On 06.17.08

October 13th 2009


Fantastic album, Great review man.

March 22nd 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Thumbs up

August 11th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

Good review mate. I was never as fond of this one though compared to "Parklife" and "The Great Escape". I always found this one drags a little more and doesn't have as much variety. Personally, I think "Popscene" should've opened the album, but I agree with you that somthing with more punch should've kicked it off.

August 11th 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

This is an album I would take to my grave. The nostalgia hits with unrivalled force and Chemical World is one of the greatest.

April 10th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

damn, i love advert.

i need something to remind me that there's something eeeeeeelse

July 21st 2016


Star shaped is irresistibly cool.

July 21st 2016


Album Rating: 5.0

^Star Shaped yes. One of the best on here

October 12th 2019


Album Rating: 4.5

On route to best mates 40th.

Can’t beat a blast of Chemical World for nostalgias sake.

What an absolute classic.

June 13th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

been considering going back to wearing a watch

September 22nd 2021


Album Rating: 4.5


September 22nd 2021


Watched about quarter of an hour of a TOTP episode from 1991 the other night, can't remember what channel they're repeating them on, not sure why I did but the nostalgia was strong.

Blur were on it, not a tune I knew well, I can totally see why 13 year old me wasn't won over by Damon & Co lol - about as far from Metallica as you could get, effeminate and flouncy doesn't cover it

September 22nd 2021


Zak did you watch that 'Nirvana in the UK' documentary the other night? Near brought a tear to the eye, forgot they had this Bez type bloke who'd get on stage with them when they played here, Kurt just saw a fellow spirit or something, real recognises real :D

September 22nd 2021


Album Rating: 4.5

I missed out on the whole Brit-rock/pop craze so it's interesting visiting these album for the first time. There's a few great standouts on this (mainly in the first half) but it's generally a slog to get through overall. It might grow on me overtime but can't see me revisiting this too much.

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