The Best Of



by Pechorin USER (23 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2006 | 25 replies

Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

I moved to Atlanta in the early spring of 2000. A local radio station I had recently discovered recorded regular live concerts of bands such as the Foo Fighters, Incubus, and Stone Temple Pilots in a small, intimate acoustic set. Another one of the bands who performed a Live X concert, as it was called, was the British band Blur. One evening, the station was playing the Blur Live X while I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep. I thought I'd give them a shot, as their famous Song 2 was still seeing decent airplay on American radio stations. The one word I can think of for my initial reaction was shock. Either the band was messing around or they were having a very off night. They sounded terrible. From then on, I considered them a one-hit wonder with Song 2 and good for nothing else.

Fast forward a few years. The song Crazy Beat from Think Tank was a hit. In the local Barnes and Noble, I went to the Blur section to check it out. I also noticed they had a hits album in the rack. As a joke (still remembering the horrible live show I had heard), I took the album to the scanner to give it a listen. Again, the only word I can think of for my reaction was shock. However, this was a good kind of shock. I promptly forgot about Think Tank and gladly shelled out the eighteen dollars Barnes and Noble charges for everything (If I gladly shell out more than $14.00 for a CD, it must be good).

How could I explain the sound of the record to myself? Being American (and really young at the height of their popularity), I missed out on most of the Blur vs. Oasis battles in the early and mid '90's. I still hear things about a north-south divide (Which I'm still a bit murky on exactly what it is) and what not, but what matters is that this record was full of catchy Brit-Pop hooks, great guitar work, and some different sounding songs as well. After giving this record a listen, I was almost slightly angry -- Angry at the fact that besides Song 2 (Which most of my friends still insist is called "Woo-Hoo"), Blur never was a huge player in the American market like their (slightly inferior) nemesis Oasis.

As for a way to explain the general sound of the band to people who haven't heard a lot of their stuff, I think Med puts it best in his review of Parklife. They have the slightly more arty, more 'British' sound to them. Whereas Oasis can be compared to the Beatles, Blur is similar to bands like the Kinks. Graham Coxon's guitar work isn't over the top flashy or virtuosic, but he has a penchant for writing hooks that will be stuck in your head for a good while, and his ability to seamlessly blend in with the rest of the band, rather than try to steal the spotlight the whole time is another strength. At the times when he is in the spotlight, however, you'd be amazed at what the almost unheard of (in America, at least) Coxon can do. In one phrase, it's smart Britpop.

Blur's best of album spans many different styles. There's the light, feel-good Coffee & TV, the slightly silly Parklife, the very electronic/disco-themed Girls $ Boys, and the beautiful, almost distant This Is a Low. This wide range of styles gives them a slight edge over Oasis, in my opinion, due to the fact that not all the songs sound the same. Rather than the usual listing of tracks in chronological order, the disc follows more of the order on a concert set list, giving good transitions from song to song. Since it is a greatest hits album, there are few weak tracks. Plus, instead of giving you only ten or eleven songs, you get eighteen of them.

As with any album, there are some flaws. First, being American, many of the lyrical meaning is admittedly lost (i.e. on Parklife). A couple songs (Tender and Music Is My Radar) seem to drag on a bit too long. Also, the band elected to leave out some sections of their career, including a lot of material from Modern Life is Rubbish. Being largely unfamiliar with their work outside of this album, it's less of a loss to me, but to people more familiar with their catalogue, this can be considered quite irksome.

However, as I said before, since this is a greatest hits album, even the relatively weak tracks are still worth a listen. I hardly skip anything on here. If you missed out on Blur the same way I did, this should be a great way to introduce yourself to what I feel are a great Brit-Pop band with some interesting and different sounds. If you give it a listen, you may start to get angry like I do; angry because you'll be left wanting more, and it's almost impossible to find their albums in the big stores around here.


Very underrated guitar work.
Almost no tracks that I would skip.
Wide range of styles, especially for a pop-rock band.


Some of the lyrics can get lost on an American audience.
A couple songs are a bit on the long side.
Where's Disc 2?

Tracks I Like:

There's No Other Way
Coffee & TV
Girls & Boys
This is a Low
For Tomorrow (My personal favorite Blur Song)

Anyhow, this is the resident redneck's take on Blur's Best Of album. I know I may not be the best expert on them, as they only made a small impact on the US, but I gave it my best shot. If you have any other comments and/or suggestions, or feel that in my American ignorance I left something out, please tell me. For being an excellent compilation for a good band that leaves out a few small things, I give it 4/5 rating.

PS: Also, don't take any of the remarks about Oasis to heart, I think they're still a really good band. I was making those comments for the sake of comparison.

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user ratings (221)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Regular reviews are a by product of insomnia, lack of activity in The Pit, and lack of stuff to do around here. Anyhow, thanks, Jom.

February 3rd 2006


Nice informative review, as usual.
I've never listened to much Blur, so I might consider getting this.

Kid A
February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

when i feel heavy metal.

crunk review, too.

fo shiz diz.

February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

I can't believe I got this. I think it's crap. I don't like pre-Think Tank Blur.

February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Ocelot]I can't believe I got this. I think it's crap. I don't like pre-Think Tank Blur.[/quote]

I heard some people say that Think Tank is Blur's Kid A. You like that stuff or you like the poppy stuff, it seems.

February 3rd 2006


Oh man I love Blur, basically everything from Modern Life is Rubbish through to 13, the other two albums are alright but not really my scene. Parklife is among my favourite albums of all time, such an amazing piece of work.

I don't own the greatest hits but Blur are awesome, and for North Americans unfamiliar with them: trust me, they have a much more to them than just "Song 2".

Looking at the tracklist there might be a couple major tracks missing but I think they've covered the highlights of their career pretty well.

Good review Paul and nice to see you shelling this reviews out so often.

February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=Amanda]I don't own the greatest hits but Blur are awesome, and for North Americans unfamiliar with them: trust me, they have a much more to them than just "Song 2".[/quote] That is what I am trying to tell my fellow Americans.

February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I see. I think it was Med, maybe, who mentioned it in an Oasis review. Does it have any relevance to the Blur vs. Oasis thing?

February 3rd 2006


This album is really only good for those people just getting into Blur, as "Music is My Radar" is the only new track and you could just get the single instead. There's a lot of essentual Blur tracks missing, but in the case of the reviewer, it served it's purpose.

Hyper Music
February 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Blur are great. However, the video to 'Coffee and Tv' is one of my all time favourites; it's just so clever ( I guess!), funny and well you know... its a walking milk carton. With emotions!

February 3rd 2006


I love that video. I've never heard this album so can't give a rating, but what's always annoyed me a bit about Blur is the way that on every album they've made there tend to be some great songs, and then a whole load that are very forgettable. I kind of wonder why I've never got this actually, seeing as how that's what I think.

February 3rd 2006


I like a few songs from them.

but i havent heard this cd

but good review :thumb:

February 3rd 2006


Coffee and Tv is a great song, this album seems to have a lot of great blur songs. I would of found it funny if song two wasn't actually the second track. O wellThis Message Edited On 02.03.06

March 25th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

This album is mega, I love it. Always got it playing. Coffee and TV, Charmless Man, Country House and Boys and Girls... all classics. Blur put this album together well, because it's not chronological, so it was a bit of a surprise to hear a song off their 5th album right off the bat.

Pint of stella
March 27th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Blur put most of their greatest songs on here. The last track is pretty crap though.

Two-Headed Boy
April 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

This is a good compilation, but I'm not too fond of Girls & Boys.

April 2nd 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Girls and Boys is actually quite difficult on bass, Alex James is a mega bass player, pretty overlooked really...

Rory says yes
April 3rd 2006


Great album, Blurs music rules. p.s. music is my radar sucks!This Message Edited On 04.03.06

April 21st 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I love blur, something to listen to when I'm feeling British. which I am.

May 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Blur rocks

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