Blur Midlife: A Beginner's Guide to Blur

Blur Midlife: A Beginner's Guide to Blur
Celebrating both a 20th anniversary and a full reunion this year, Blur have compiled the requisite career-spanning retrospective to remind fans that they were the quintessential British band of the '90s. As the subtitle says, it's "a beginner's guide," not another "best of," meaning it's a celebration of Blur's music the way they see fit to present. Across the two discs are the obvious singles, underrated album tracks and even a few surprises. Missing are hits "There's No Other Way," "End of a Century" and "Crazy Beat," and in their place are examples of what made Blur such a commercial paradox. Alongside the publicly adored "Girls and Boys" and "Song 2" are wonderful examples of their art school upbringings: the beautifully melancholic "Sing," the overzealous "Advert" and wonky noise experiment "Trimm Trabb." More than anything, Midlife gives newcomers a better sense of why Blur were one of pop music's more sophisticated bands, thanks to the fertile characters drawn from Damon Albarn's imagination and Graham Coxon's fundamental guitar strokes. Unfortunately, if you have all of the albums Midlife is nothing more than a keepsake for collectors. But for younger generations, this is an excellent primer for, hopefully, more to come. (Parlophone)