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Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Rock - Released September 25, 2015 | Parlophone UK

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After the freakish hard rock of The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie returned to singer/songwriter territory on Hunky Dory. Not only did the album boast more folky songs ("Song for Bob Dylan," "The Bewlay Brothers"), but he again flirted with Anthony Newley-esque dancehall music ("Kooks," "Fill Your Heart"), seemingly leaving heavy metal behind. As a result, Hunky Dory is a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie's sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class. Mick Ronson's guitar is pushed to the back, leaving Rick Wakeman's cabaret piano to dominate the sound of the album. The subdued support accentuates the depth of Bowie's material, whether it's the revamped Tin Pan Alley of "Changes," the Neil Young homage "Quicksand," the soaring "Life on Mars?," the rolling, vaguely homosexual anthem "Oh! You Pretty Things," or the dark acoustic rocker "Andy Warhol." On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie's improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop's traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 2, 2014 | Parlophone UK

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While it isn't a gutsy rock & roll record like Your Arsenal, Vauxhall and I is equally impressive. Filled with carefully constructed guitar pop gems, the album contains some of Morrissey's best material since the Smiths. Out of all of his solo albums, Vauxhall and I sounds the most like his former band, yet the textured, ringing guitar on this record is an extension of his past, not a replication of it. In fact, with songs like "Now My Heart Is Full" and "Hold on to Your Friends," Morrissey sounds more comfortable and peaceful than he ever has. And "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get," "Speedway," and "Spring-Heeled Jim" prove that he hasn't lost his vicious wit. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 30, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Blur's penitence for Brit-pop continues with the aptly named 13, which deals with star-crossed situations like personal and professional breakups with Damon Albarn's longtime girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and the group's longtime producer, Stephen Street. Building on Blur's un-pop experiments, the group's ambitions to expand their musical and emotional horizons result in a half-baked baker's dozen of songs, featuring some of their most creative peaks and self-indulgent valleys. Albarn has been criticized for lacking depth in his songwriting, but his ballads remain some of Blur's best moments. When Albarn and crew risk some honesty, 13 shines: on "Tender," Albarn is battered and frail, urged by a lush gospel choir to "get through it." His confiding continues on "1992," which alludes to the beginning -- and ending -- of his relationship with Frischmann. On "No Distance Left to Run," one of 13's most moving moments, Albarn addresses post-breakup ambivalence, sighing, "I hope you're with someone who makes you feel safe while you sleep." While these songs reflect Albarn's romantic chaos, "Mellow Song," "Caramel," and "Trimm Trabb" express day-to-day desperation. Musically, the saddest songs on 13 are also the clearest, mixing electronic and acoustic elements in sleek but heartfelt harmony. However, "B.L.U.R.E.M.I." is a by-the-numbers rave-up, and the blustery "Swamp Song" and "Bugman" nick Blur's old punky glam pop style but sound misplaced here. "Trailerpark" veers in yet another direction, a too-trendy trip-hop rip-off that emphasizes the band's musical fog, proving that William Orbit's kitchen-sink production doesn't serve the songs' -- or the band's -- best interests. 13's strange, frustrating combination of expert musicianship and self-indulgence reveals the sound of a band trying to find itself. With some closer editing, this could have been the emotionally deep, sonically wide album Blur yearns to make. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 4, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Borrowing heavily from Marc Bolan's glam rock and the future shock of A Clockwork Orange, David Bowie reached back to the heavy rock of The Man Who Sold the World for The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Constructed as a loose concept album about an androgynous alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust, the story falls apart quickly, yet Bowie's fractured, paranoid lyrics are evocative of a decadent, decaying future, and the music echoes an apocalyptic, nuclear dread. Fleshing out the off-kilter metallic mix with fatter guitars, genuine pop songs, string sections, keyboards, and a cinematic flourish, Ziggy Stardust is a glitzy array of riffs, hooks, melodrama, and style and the logical culmination of glam. Mick Ronson plays with a maverick flair that invigorates rockers like "Suffragette City," "Moonage Daydream," and "Hang Onto Yourself," while "Lady Stardust," "Five Years," and "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" have a grand sense of staged drama previously unheard of in rock & roll. And that self-conscious sense of theater is part of the reason why Ziggy Stardust sounds so foreign. Bowie succeeds not in spite of his pretensions but because of them, and Ziggy Stardust -- familiar in structure, but alien in performance -- is the first time his vision and execution met in such a grand, sweeping fashion. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released March 30, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Following the breakup of the Smiths, Morrissey needed to prove that he was a viable artist without Johnny Marr, and Viva Hate fulfilled that goal with grace. Working with producer Stephen Street and guitarist Vini Reilly (of the Durutti Column), Morrissey doesn't drastically depart from the sound of Strangeways, Here We Come, offering a selection of 12 jangling guitar pop sounds. One major concession is the presence of synthesizers -- which is ironic, considering the Smiths' adamant opposition to keyboards -- but neither the sound, nor Morrissey's wit, is diluted. And while the music is occasionally pedestrian, Morrissey compensates with a superb batch of lyrics, ranging from his conventional despair ("Little Man, What Now?," "I Don't Mind If You Forget Me") to the savage political tirade of "Margaret on a Guillotine." Nevertheless, the two masterstrokes on the album -- the gorgeous "Everyday Is Like Sunday" and the infectious "Suedehead" -- were previously singles, and both are on the compilation Bona Drag. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 24, 2011 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released May 16, 2011 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released October 25, 2010 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released June 4, 2010 | Parlophone UK

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Recorded at Rick Hall's Muscle Shoals studios, this set embodies the essence of Southern soul -- a hybrid of country, R&B and the blues. This long-out-of-print set features the novelty tune "I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart (Than A Young One's Fool)" and a killer cover of O.V. Wright's "That's How Strong My Love Is." © Bil Carpenter /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 13, 2009 | Parlophone UK

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk - 5/6 de Magic - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks
Richard Hawley has always shown a penchant for writing deeply evocative and emotional songs about people and situations in his hometown of Sheffield. His early recordings, especially Lowedges, reflected his obsession with lushly orchestrated pop songs and a production style that extended a song far beyond its margins and into the listener's world with a near visual sensibility. This was even more true on the brilliant, near cinematic recordings Cole's Corner (2005) and Lady's Bridge (2007), where he took production skills and hometown images to a level that almost -- but not quite -- overtook the glorious melodies in his songs. Hawley created emotional atmospheres as well as sonic ones; nostalgia was a poetic device that evoked the ghosts of history, but were clearly present for the listener. On Truelove's Gutter (another Sheffield-inspired title), Hawley has dug the well much deeper and brought forth a spring of new ideas in his singing, writing, and production, but paradoxically, has done so with less. The album is more sparse than anything he's released. Its eight songs have a decidedly late-night feel. The grand sweeping orchestral strings of his last two albums have been replaced by a chamber section and odd instrumentation -- like megabass waterphones and crystal baschets -- that add real intimacy to the proceedings. These songs reflect his own experiences, or the trials and tribulations of friends. His gorgeous melodies shine through brighter in songs that are naked and unflinching, yet musically more sophisticated, adding depth of field. "Open Up Your Door" would be just a pop song were it not for lyrical concerns underscored by the only chamber arrangement: it's a plea for reconciliation by a husband who confesses and owns his shortcomings, while professing an all-consuming love for his spouse as strings swell and punctuate the bridge. The melody is infectious, and Hawley's soaring baritone evokes the power of Roy Orbison's tenor. It is followed by the country-ish "Ashes on the Fire," whose melody is as revealing as its lyric; it's a devastating tale of someone who wrote -- and delivered -- a letter confessing an passionate love, only to discover its burnt remains in the dustbin. Hawley conveys his protagonist's complex emotions without judgment. His beautiful guitars support the storyteller line by line. "Remorse Code," at nearly ten minutes, melds acoustic and electric guitars with a drum kit played with Dean Beresford's bare hands. It's an observation tale of a friend who likens his life to a shipwreck. The lyric and melody are elementary; there isn't an extra note. Hawley's extended guitar solo underscores its powerful subject matter as a device and illustrates what a terrific storyteller he is. "For Your Lover Give Some Time," perhaps the album's most beautiful -- and wryly humorous -- track, confessionally reflects on his relationship with his wife; Hawley promises to deal with his failings but also points out hers. It's a complex meditation of committment detailing the worthy effort involved in maintaining its bond. "Don't You Cry," at nearly 11 minutes, utilizes Tibetan bowls, glass harmonicas, and a fisherman's lyre in an empathic reflection on getting stuck in the expectation of a moment that never arrives. Truelove's Gutter is a singular moment in Hawley's catalog that displays the maturity of all his gifts. It is quietly passionate yet graceful and elegant. He's realized an ambition here that is artful and singular. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 26, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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The CD reissue of this album is a must-own release, even for those who already have one of the Dr. Feelgood anthologies currently available, neither of which has more than three of the 13 tracks here. The 1975 album, a magnificent first album, recorded in pure mono, has been transferred to CD in exemplary form, a clean, sharp, crunchy, close sound that recalls the sonic textures of the Rolling Stones' first album, even as they cross swords with the Stones' arch-rivals of the era, the Animals, with a superb version of "Boom Boom." Released amid the burgeoning radio presence of acts like Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, and Kansas, and the growing self-conscious profundity of Bruce Springsteen, Down by the Jetty was as refreshingly lean as anything the headline-grabbing '70s punks would later loose on the world, and as stripped down as the most basic roots rock. Lee Brilleaux's singing could go up against Eric Burdon's or Cyril Davies, and even take on elements of a thick rasp vaguely reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf (listen closely to "Roxette"), certainly better than Mick Jagger ever did; and guitarist Wilko Johnson could play Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, or Bo Diddley licks with equally imposing (and seemingly effortless) virtuosity. This record was one of the great '70s rock & roll albums, right up there with the Groovies' Shake Some Action and anything CCR left listeners, and ran circles around the Rolling Stones' post-Exile on Main Street output. The final cut, a killer live medley of "Bonie Maronie"/"Tequila" with guests Brinsley Schwarz and Bob Andrews blowing saxes, was a taste of what they did on stage with astonishing regularity, and could have sent the Ramones back to the drawing board if the Queens-based quartet had heard it. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 5, 2005 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Coles Corner is Richard Hawley's fourth solo offering. He still tours as a guitarist with Pulp and does session work for a number of artists, but it is clear from his catalog that his true passion lies with making his own records. His production style is simple yet elegant, warm and graceful, with lots of space for the listener to enter into. Hawley's love of Roy Orbison, Elvis, and Scott Walker has left the best possible mark on him as a singer and songwriter: He understands that in writing a song, the most important thing is to make it immediately available to the listener as either a lived or desired experience. He paints his lyrics with melodies to get that across, then records with the intention of creating a world at once familiar and somehow utterly dreamy, timeless. Coles Corner is an intimate collection of love songs (most of them broken), where sadness and melancholy are carefully housed in forms and frames that understand the weight of the emotion communicated without letting the emotion overwhelm the song itself. They are saturated in tenderness and the heart of true romantic, not self pity or bitterness.. Coles Corner is an actual place, a corner in Sheffield, Hawley's hometown, where people have met and encountered one another by chance, to hang out, rendezvous, and commiserate since 1905. This song cycle reflects the hope experienced in some of those chance encounters as it flowers and then withers and dies. Sounds like a downer, but Hawley's melancholy is so rich and empathetic, so devoid of self pity and self assessment, it is anything but. The opening title track is like the beginning of as a suite or a film score. The Colin Elliot arranged strings ease in John Trier's piano and Hawley's voice, offering a snapshot from a man who stands alone on that corner, looking, waiting, deciding. His willingness to step out into a world of chance, into the world of people who all know what he feels is stirring. The ballad portays a world seen from outside; the protagonist's desire to enter becomes his movement toward something unknown and unexpected. "Just Like the Rain" is its mirror image, a song fueled by thin, shimmering guitars, articulated against restlessness and a desire for return, to find the ghost that has haunted the narrator. Here, echoes of Mickey Newbury's and Johnny Cash's stylized country story songs ("Sleep Alone") Charlie Rich's and Roy Orbison's balladry ("Darlin Wait for Me") permeate Hawley's delivery; they alternate with traces of Walker, Jacques Brel, and even the Frank Sinatra of "In the Wee Small Hours" ("The Ocean") to incarnate something completely and utterly his own. "Hotel Room," is an old-school rock & roll crooned ballad that iterates the magical nature of a tryst that feels like it exists outside of time and space and the margins of the universe are demarcated by four walls and the bed that is the lovers' sanctuary. And so it goes. Reveries, nostalgia, longed-for wishes, regret, sadness, and the bittersweet mark of the beloved left on the heart of the left and lost. Early rock & roll and rockabilly, country, traces of the vintage-'40s pop, jazz, and blues, fall together on a dimly lit, intimate streetcorner that has witnessed it all. Hawley's guitar sound rings like a voice from another era; it underscores both emotion and story in his voice. There isn't a moment on Coles Corner that doesn't stand up, doesn't fall into the next, giving them all uncommon, even singular depth and dimension. And the singer's voice conjures shadows, glimmers of soft light, street lamps, tears, and the sound of lonely steps on a rainy midnight street. Coles Corner is expertly assembled and executed. It is magical and utterly lovely. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 10, 2004 | Parlophone UK

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When it was originally released in June 1969, Beck-Ola, the Jeff Beck Group's second album, featured a famous sleeve note on its back cover: "Today, with all the hard competition in the music business, it's almost impossible to come up with anything totally original. So we haven't. However, this LP was made with the accent on heavy music. So sit back and listen and try and decide if you can find a small place in your heads for it." Beck was reacting to the success of peers and competitors like Cream and Led Zeppelin here, bands that had been all over the charts with a hard rock sound soon to be dubbed heavy metal, and indeed, his sound employs much the same brand of "heavy music" as theirs, with deliberate rhythms anchoring the beat, over which the guitar solos fiercely and the lead singer emotes. But he was also preparing listeners for the weakness of the material on an album that sounds somewhat thrown together. Two songs are rehauls of Elvis Presley standards ("All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock") and one is an instrumental interlude contributed by pianist Nicky Hopkins, promoted from sideman to group member, with the rest being band-written songs that basically serve as platforms for Beck's improvisations. But that doesn't detract from the album's overall quality, due both to the guitar work and the distinctive vocals of Rod Stewart, and Beck-Ola easily could have been the album to establish the Jeff Beck Group as the equal of the other heavy bands of the day. Unfortunately, a series of misfortunes occurred. Beck canceled out of a scheduled appearance at Woodstock; he was in a car accident that sidelined him for over a year, and Stewart and bass player Ron Wood decamped to join Faces, breaking up the group. Nevertheless, Beck-Ola stands as a prime example of late-'60s British blues-rock and one of Beck's best records. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

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Bassey's fourth EMI/Columbia album is regarded as the magnum opus of her pre-Goldfinger career, bringing her together with conductor/arranger Nelson Riddle. (Ironically, it was Riddle's still being under contract to Capitol Records which prevented him from working with Sinatra on Reprise at the time, that made this record possible). Riddle approached this album from the standpoint that less is more, providing elegant and subdued accompaniment that emphasized the strings. Bassey's voice comes across with a delicacy of nuance that is startling to hear, achieving new levels of subtlety on this album. One may disagree with the order of the songs -- the moodily expressive "I Should Care," reminiscent of Judy Garland at her best, would be the ideal opener -- but not with the overall content of this album. Throughout Let's Face the Music, one almost gets a sense of Bassey slipping inside these songs, becoming part of them and they her, rather than merely performing them. The interpretations are fresh in other respects as well, with works such as "Let's Fall in Love" or "The Second Time Around" given unexpectedly slow tempos that work beautifully. Riddle is so careful and measured in his every orchestral nuance of this record, that he leaves us open to surprises at many points, perhaps most startlingly the sudden appearance of a harp glissando on "Spring Is Here," after we've been lulled into the expectation that no part of this orchestra will play full-out. Re-released in the late 1990s as part of EMI's anniversary reissue series, remastered in 24-bit sound. © Bruce Eder /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 22, 2001 | Parlophone UK

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It's easy to see why Stiff Little Fingers' Rough Trade debut remains so highly rated, but for the discerning fan of second generation punk, Nobody's Heroes is every bit as special. For a start, new drummer Jim Reilly was an improvement on Brian Faloon (who gets a heartwarming tribute on "Wait and See"). Secondly, Jake Burns' songwriting collaborations with journalist Gordon Ogilvie are really beginning to pay off. The cornerstones of the LP are "Gotta Gettaway," "At the Edge," and "Tin Soldiers" -- three songs which, in different ways, brilliantly articulate the frustrated ambitions of young men in search of expression and identity, trapped in nowhere jobs or situations. Though "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster" had long since ensured they would always be tagged with the label of "political punk," in truth SLF were always more interested in their immediate environment, and finding a way out of it. A couple of plausible stabs at reggae are more than an interesting aside. © Alex Ogg /TiVo
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Rock - Released October 1, 2001 | Parlophone UK

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Fame can be a fleeting mistress, and nowhere more so than in the land of dance-pop divas. Many are lucky enough to have a hit album, much less two or three. What usually takes a one-hit wonder from the singles charts to career diva lies less in catchy hooks than in a combination of talent and the choice of collaborators. Obviously, the master of this technique is Madonna, whose talent and eye for talent in others has made her not only a worldwide pop sensation, but a worldwide icon. Arguably, running a close second is Kylie Minogue. Starting off as not much more than a female voice for the massively successful Stock, Aitken & Waterman hit factory, she moved on to work with some of the most prominent dance producers of the early '90s, making her one of the most visible pop stars outside of the United States. By 1997, she moved on to working with writers outside the genre. While this may have translated into poor record sales, her motives were in the right place. With 2001's Fever, Minogue combines the disco-diva comeback of the previous year's Light Years with the trend of simple dance rhythms which was prevalent in the teen dance-pop craze of the years surrounding the album's release. While on the surface that might seem like an old dog trying to learn new tricks, Minogue pulls it off with surprising ease. The first single, "Cant Get You Out of My Head," is a sparse, mid-tempo dance number that pulses and grooves like no other she's recorded, and nothing on Light Years was as funky as the pure disco closer of "Burning Up." And while it's hard not to notice her tipping her hat to the teen pop sound (in fact, on this record she works with Cathy Dennis, former dance-pop star and writer/producer for Brit-teen pop group S Club 7) on songs like "Give It to Me" and "Love at First Sight," her maturity helps transcend this limiting tag, making this a very stylish Euro-flavored dance-pop record that will appeal to all ages. Not one weak track, not one misplaced syrupy ballad to ruin the groove. The winning streak continues. [The U.S. version, released in early March of 2002, included the hidden tracks "Boy" and "Butterfly" -- a B-side and Light Years album track, respectively.] © Chris True /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 14, 2000 | Parlophone UK

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Having already scored three major U.K. smashes, the Shadows confirmed their independence from singer Cliff Richard with an eponymous album which rates among the most accomplished British LPs of the pre-Beatles era, and one of the most influential rock instrumental sets ever. An entire generation of would-be guitar heroes learned their licks from Hank Marvin and the Shadows, an accolade which a star-studded, mid-1990s tribute album certainly affirms. But the bespectacled guitarist was not the band's sole star. Drummer Tony Meehan's "See You in My Drums," like bassist Jet Harris' "Jet Black" single of two years previous, is a gripping showcase for his own remarkable talents, while "Baby My Heart" unveils vocal talents which, again, the group's earliest singles alone had illustrated. Modern listeners, schooled in the axeman excesses of more recent years, will doubtlessly find The Shadows impossibly well-mannered and implausibly sedentary. Low-key instrumentals like "Blue Star," "Sleepwalk," and "Nivram" (the inspiration behind Peter Frampton's "Theme From Nivram") scarcely begin to speak of the frenetic abuses which the likes of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton would one day wring from their instruments. What they did do, however, was illustrate the untapped possibilities of the guitar, a lesson which Marvin might have taken his time in teaching, but which was vivid all the same. © Dave Thompson /TiVo
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13

Rock - Released March 15, 1999 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Blur's penitence for Brit-pop continues with the aptly named 13, which deals with star-crossed situations like personal and professional breakups with Damon Albarn's longtime girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and the group's longtime producer, Stephen Street. Building on Blur's un-pop experiments, the group's ambitions to expand their musical and emotional horizons result in a half-baked baker's dozen of songs, featuring some of their most creative peaks and self-indulgent valleys. Albarn has been criticized for lacking depth in his songwriting, but his ballads remain some of Blur's best moments. When Albarn and crew risk some honesty, 13 shines: on "Tender," Albarn is battered and frail, urged by a lush gospel choir to "get through it." His confiding continues on "1992," which alludes to the beginning -- and ending -- of his relationship with Frischmann. On "No Distance Left to Run," one of 13's most moving moments, Albarn addresses post-breakup ambivalence, sighing, "I hope you're with someone who makes you feel safe while you sleep." While these songs reflect Albarn's romantic chaos, "Mellow Song," "Caramel," and "Trimm Trabb" express day-to-day desperation. Musically, the saddest songs on 13 are also the clearest, mixing electronic and acoustic elements in sleek but heartfelt harmony. However, "B.L.U.R.E.M.I." is a by-the-numbers rave-up, and the blustery "Swamp Song" and "Bugman" nick Blur's old punky glam pop style but sound misplaced here. "Trailerpark" veers in yet another direction, a too-trendy trip-hop rip-off that emphasizes the band's musical fog, proving that William Orbit's kitchen-sink production doesn't serve the songs' -- or the band's -- best interests. 13's strange, frustrating combination of expert musicianship and self-indulgence reveals the sound of a band trying to find itself. With some closer editing, this could have been the emotionally deep, sonically wide album Blur yearns to make. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 11, 1995 | Parlophone UK

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In the simplest terms, The Great Escape is the flip side of Parklife. Where Blur's breakthrough album was a celebration of the working class, drawing on British pop from the '60s and reaching through the '80s, The Great Escape concentrates on the suburbs, featuring a cast of characters all trying to cope with the numbing pressures of modern life. Consequently, it's darker than Parklife, even if the melancholia is hidden underneath the crisp production and catchy melodies. Even the bright, infectious numbers on The Great Escape have gloomy subtexts, whether it's the disillusioned millionaire of "Country House" and the sycophant of "Charmless Man" or the bleak loneliness of "Globe Alone" and "Entertain Me." Naturally, the slower numbers are even more despairing, with the acoustic "Best Days," the lush, sweeping strings of "The Universal," and the stark, moving electronic ballad "Yuko & Hiro" ranking as the most affecting work Blur has ever recorded. However, none of this makes The Great Escape a burden or a difficult album. The music bristles with invention throughout, as Blur delves deeper into experimentation with synthesizers, horns, and strings; guitarist Graham Coxon twists out unusual chords and lead lines, and Damon Albarn spits out unexpected lyrical couplets filled with wit and venomous intelligence in each song. But Blur's most remarkable accomplishment is that it can reference the past -- the Scott Walker homage of "The Universal," the Terry Hall/Fun Boy Three cop on "Top Man," the skittish, XTC-flavored pop of "It Could Be You," and Albarn's devotion to Ray Davies -- while still moving forward, creating a vibrant, invigorating record. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 19, 1995 | Parlophone UK

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After satisfying all of their classical music kinks with keyboard player Jon Lord's overblown Concerto for Group and Orchestra, Deep Purple's soon to be classic Mark II version made its proper debut and established the sonic blueprint that would immortalize this lineup of the band on 1970's awesome In Rock. The cacophony of sound (spearheaded by Ritchie Blackmore's blistering guitar solo) introducing opener "Speed King" made it immediately obvious that the band was no longer fooling around, but the slightly less intense "Bloodsucker" did afford stunned listeners a chance to catch their breaths before the band launched into the album's epic, ten-minute tour de force, "Child in Time." In what still stands as arguably his single greatest performance, singer Ian Gillan led his bandmates on a series of hypnotizing crescendos, from the song's gentle beginning through to its ear-shattering climax and then back again for an even more intense encore that brought the original vinyl album's seismic first side to a close. Side two opened with the searing power chords of "Flight of the Rat" -- another example of the band's new take-no-prisoners hard rock stance, though at nearly eight minutes, it too found room for some extended soloing from Blackmore and Lord. Next, "Into the Fire" and "Living Wreck" proved more concise but equally appealing, and though closer "Hard Lovin' Man" finally saw the new-look Deep Purple waffling on a bit too long before descending into feedback, the die was cast for one of heavy metal's defining albums. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo