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Blur - The Best Of

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The Best Of

Blur

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It's boring to point out omissions on hits compilations, especially when a collection is as generous as the 18-track The Best of Blur, but let's do it anyway. The Best of Blur largely bypasses the group's key album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, the record that invented Brit-pop, skewing in favor of the self-consciously "experimental" 13, which, for all of its attributes, wasn't a singles album. Plus, the group continues to punish the British record-buying public by not including the brilliant "Popscene" (to beat a dead horse, the single that invented Brit-pop), since nobody bought it at the time. So, without "Popscene," "Chemical World" or "Sunday Sunday," a crucial chapter of Blur's history is missing from The Best of Blur -- the chapter where they essentially became Blur. It's to their immense credit that the album doesn't feel like it's missing anything, since these singles (plus one album track) are dazzling on their own. Of course, the trick is that the record isn't assembled chronologically. Instead, it flows like a set list, complete with the set closer "This Is a Low" followed by a two-song encore that ends with the new song (the good, not great, "Music Is My Radar"), which not only gives it a momentum of its own, but draws attention to the songs themselves. And "dazzling" isn't really hyperbole -- based on these 18 songs, Blur isn't just the best pop band of the '90s, with greater range and depth than their peers, they rank among the best pop bands of all time. The Best of Blur illustrates that, even as it misses some of their best moments -- omissions that prevent it from being the flat-out classic it should be. Even so, it's pretty damn terrific, particularly for the unconverted. [And, for the hardcore, there's not just "Music Is My Radar," there's a special limited-edition double-disc version of The Best of Blur, containing a bonus ten-track, 45-minute live album, recorded at Wembley Arena in December of 1999. Lots of track duplication between this disc and the first, but "Stereotypes" and "M.O.R." are present, and the entire thing is a lot of fun -- they are a terrific live band, after all -- even if it doesn't hold any particular revelations.]
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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The Best Of

Blur

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1
Beetlebum
Blur
00:05:05

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1997 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Song 2
Blur
00:02:02

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1997 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

3
There's No Other Way (Single Version)
Blur
00:03:14

Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1991 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

4
The Universal
Blur
00:04:00

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Saxophone, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer - Ivan McCermoy, Cello - Angela Murrell, Background Vocals - Theresa Davis, Background Vocals - Lousia Fuller, Violin

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1995 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Coffee & TV (Radio Edit)
Blur
00:05:19

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - WILLIAM ORBIT, Producer, Engineer - Iain Roberton, Assistant Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Jason Cox, Engineer - DAMIAN LEGASSICK, Pro-Tools Engineer - Sean Spuehler, Pro-Tools Engineer - Gerard Navarro, Assistant Engineer - Addi 800, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1999 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

6
Parklife
Blur
00:03:07

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Saxophone, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Phil Daniels, Narrator

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1994 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

7
End of a Century
Blur
00:02:47

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Roddy Lorimer, Flugelhorn - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - Richard Edwards, Trombone - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1994 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

8
No Distance Left to Run
Blur
00:03:28

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - WILLIAM ORBIT, Producer, Engineer - Howie Weinberg, Mastering Engineer - Iain Roberton, Assistant Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Jason Cox, Engineer - DAMIAN LEGASSICK, Pro-Tools Engineer - Sean Spuehler, Pro-Tools Engineer - Gerard Navarro, Assistant Engineer - Addi 800, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1999 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

9
Tender
Blur
00:07:42

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Double Bass, Writer, Background Vocals - The London Community Gospel Choir, Choir - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - WILLIAM ORBIT, Producer, Engineer - Iain Roberton, Pro-Tools Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Vocals, Writer - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Jason Cox, Engineer - DAMIAN LEGASSICK, Assistant Engineer - Sean Spuehler, Pro-Tools Engineer - Gerard Navarro, Assistant Engineer - Addi 800, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1999 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

10
Girls & Boys
Graham Coxon
00:04:19

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1994 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

11
Charmless Man
Blur
00:03:34

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Writer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1995 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

12
She's So High (Single Version)
Blur
00:03:50

Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - Steve Power, Producer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Steve Lovell, Producer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1990 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

13
Country House
Blur
00:03:58

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Saxophone, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Writer, Synthesizer - Tom Girling, Engineer - Julia Gardner, Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1995 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

14
To the End
00:03:52

John Smith, Producer, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Producer, Drums, Writer - Stephen Hague, Producer, Accordion, Engineer - Laetitia Sadier, Additional Vocals - Chris Tombling, Strings - Graham Coxon, Producer, Clarinet, Guitar, Writer - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Leo Payne, Strings - Audrey Riley, Strings - Rick Wentworth, Strings Conductor - Khalil Chahine, String Arranger - Chris Pitsilledes, Strings

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1994 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

15
On Your Own
Blur
00:04:27

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer, Drum Programmer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1997 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

16
This Is a Low
Blur
00:05:01

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1994 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

17
For Tomorrow (Visit to Primrose Hill Extended)
Blur
00:06:02

John Smith, Engineer, Mixing Engineer - Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Dave Rowntree, Drums, Writer - Helen Kamminga, Viola - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Miriam Stockley, Background Vocals - Mae McKenna, Background Vocals - Graham Coxon, Guitar, Writer, Background Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Ivan McCermoy, Cello - Lousia Fuller, Violin - The Duke String Quartet, String Quartet

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 1993 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

18
Music Is My Radar
00:05:29

Alex James, Producer, Bass Guitar, Writer - Dave Rowntree, Producer, Drums, Writer - Ben Hillier, Producer, Mixing Engineer - Graham Coxon, Producer, Guitar, Writer - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Producer, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Writer - Jason Cox, Assistant Engineer - Jeff Knowler, Assistant Engineer

© 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd. This label copy information is the subject of copyright protection. All rights reserved. (C) 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd ℗ 2000 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

Album Description

It's boring to point out omissions on hits compilations, especially when a collection is as generous as the 18-track The Best of Blur, but let's do it anyway. The Best of Blur largely bypasses the group's key album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, the record that invented Brit-pop, skewing in favor of the self-consciously "experimental" 13, which, for all of its attributes, wasn't a singles album. Plus, the group continues to punish the British record-buying public by not including the brilliant "Popscene" (to beat a dead horse, the single that invented Brit-pop), since nobody bought it at the time. So, without "Popscene," "Chemical World" or "Sunday Sunday," a crucial chapter of Blur's history is missing from The Best of Blur -- the chapter where they essentially became Blur. It's to their immense credit that the album doesn't feel like it's missing anything, since these singles (plus one album track) are dazzling on their own. Of course, the trick is that the record isn't assembled chronologically. Instead, it flows like a set list, complete with the set closer "This Is a Low" followed by a two-song encore that ends with the new song (the good, not great, "Music Is My Radar"), which not only gives it a momentum of its own, but draws attention to the songs themselves. And "dazzling" isn't really hyperbole -- based on these 18 songs, Blur isn't just the best pop band of the '90s, with greater range and depth than their peers, they rank among the best pop bands of all time. The Best of Blur illustrates that, even as it misses some of their best moments -- omissions that prevent it from being the flat-out classic it should be. Even so, it's pretty damn terrific, particularly for the unconverted. [And, for the hardcore, there's not just "Music Is My Radar," there's a special limited-edition double-disc version of The Best of Blur, containing a bonus ten-track, 45-minute live album, recorded at Wembley Arena in December of 1999. Lots of track duplication between this disc and the first, but "Stereotypes" and "M.O.R." are present, and the entire thing is a lot of fun -- they are a terrific live band, after all -- even if it doesn't hold any particular revelations.]
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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