Blur - 13 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Blur - 13

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1999-03-15

It all begins with a music-box noise, not entirely unlike the beginning of Trumpton (you know, the kids' programme with the curiously named firemen). Welcome to yet another new identity for Blur. Gone are the caricatures of bed-and-breakfast owners and bankers, the cockernee knees-ups, football and pub laddisms. 13 is the starkest, most personal Blur album ever, going further in the direction the previous self-titled album hinted at. Dealing, for the most part, with frontman Damon Albarn's broken relationship with Elastica's Justine Frischmann, it's as if Blur have ripped their heart out and left the bloody mess for all to see. "Tender", with its repetitive cycle of a tune and gorgeous gospel choir, must surely remind you of someone special, while "No Distance Left to Run" is pure, unashamed heartbreak. Relief comes in the form of the sweet, Graham Coxon-penned "Coffee and TV" and "B.L.U.R.E.M.I", which recalls their punkier days. Oh, and "Bugman" appears to have utilised the previously untapped musical properties of a vacuum cleaner. "Country House" this is not. --Emma Johnston

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