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Blur - The Great Escape

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The Great Escape

Blur

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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

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The Great Escape

Blur

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1
Stereotypes (2012 Remastered Version) 00:03:11

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

2
Country House (2012 Remastered Version) 00:03:56

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Producer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Producer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

3
Best Days (2012 Remastered Version) 00:04:49

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

4
Charmless Man (2012 Remastered Version) 00:03:33

John Smith, Mixer, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Producer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Producer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

5
Fade Away (2012 Remastered Version) 00:04:18

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

6
Top Man (2012 Remastered Version) 00:04:00

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

7
The Universal (2012 Remastered Version) 00:03:58

John Smith, Mixer, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Producer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Mixer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Producer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello - Angela Murrell, Backing Vocals

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

8
Mr Robinson's Quango (2012 Remastered Version) 00:04:00

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

9
He Thought of Cars (2012 Remastered Version) 00:04:16

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

10
It Could Be You (2012 Remastered Version) 00:03:12

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

11
Ernold Same (2012 Remastered Version) 00:02:06

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello - The Right On Ken Livingstone, Narrator - Ken Livingstone, Narrator

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

12
Globe Alone (2012 Remastered Version) 00:02:23

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

13
Dan Abnormal (2012 Remastered Version) 00:03:23

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

14
Entertain Me (2012 Remastered Version) 00:04:18

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Assistant Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

15
Yuko and Hiro (2012 Remastered Version) 00:05:24

John Smith, Engineer - Alex James, Composer, Bass Guitar - Roddy Lorimer, Trumpet - Louisa Fuller, Violin - Rick Koster, Violin - John Metcalfe, Viola - Tim Sanders, Saxophone - Simon Clarke, Saxophone - Dave Rowntree, Composer, Drums - STEPHEN STREET, Producer, Remastering Engineer - Neil Sidwell, Trombone - Graham Coxon, Composer, Banjo, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals - Blur, MainArtist - Damon Albarn, Composer, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Synthesizer - Frank Arkwright, Remastering Engineer - Tom Girling, Additional Engineer, Assistant - Julia Gardner, Additional Engineer, Assistant - Ivan McCermoy, Cello - Cathy Gillat, Producer, Additional Vocals

2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd, a Warner Music Group Company

Album Description

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

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