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Old 09-01-2008, 07:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
Da Hiphopopotamus
 
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Default Modern Life Is Rubbish- Blur


Modern Life Is Rubbish
by
Blur

Released: 10 May 1993
Recorded: 1992-early 1993
Genre: Britpop
Length: 58:57
Label: Food, SBK Records
Producer: Blur, Stephen Street, Steve Lovell, John Smith


Blur:
Damon Albarn - Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Synths
Graham Coxon - guitars, backing vocals
Alex James -bass guitar, backing vocals
Dave Rowntree - drums, percussion





"Modern life, well it's rubbish....."
From: For Tomorrow

Probably the epitome of the Britpop movement Blur’s second album aptly named Modern Life Is Rubbish was a departure from their ‘shoe gaze’ inspired first album Leisure. After being called ‘manufactured pop stars’ and ‘Stone Roses rip-offs’ the band had changed their image and ideology to showcase their pride in English heritage and write songs that spoke mainly to British youth. At the time of it’s release American Grunge was a dominate force in the UK charts frontman Damon Albran would comment If punk was about getting rid of hippies, then I'm getting rid of grunge’. The bands dislike of America would only increase while on tour for Leisure, Damon who was homesick began to ‘write songs which created an English atmosphere’. In Fact a working title for Modern Life was ‘England vs. America’. Blur took all this angst to create a record which epitomized life in UK and British pop music in the 90’s which I believe holds as much relevance today as it did upon it’s release in 1993.

Ok now that we’ve got all my professionalism out of the way let’s take a look at some of the high lights, shall we? ‘Why not all the tracks?’, you may ask well, because I’m just too lazy.



For Tomorrow: Every good album should have a great opener and For Tomorrow is exactly that in fact it’s one of my favorite songs ever. The opening lines after a few strums on an acoustic guitar hear Damon singing ‘he’s a 20th century boy’ just grab your attention and the whole atmosphere of the song screams LONDON. Blur manages to take something as simple as ‘la-la-la’ and turn it into something beautiful for the chorus that you can’t help but sing along. This song makes me wish I was English. The video it’s self is quite good. Directed by Julian Temple it shows the band around London from flying kites in the park to Damon floating in the Thames, also the shots of the everyday people singing along for the chorus give it a sense of ‘we are for the common people because we are common people’ feel.

Enjoy


Another version of this song which I felt I had to add because of it's greatness is a stripped down version of the song taken from the Great Xpectations concert in Finsbury park with just Graham on guitar and backing vocals and Damon singing seems to just intensify the beauty of the song.




Advert: The first thing you hear on this one sounds like something ripped from a shopping show saying ‘food processors are great!’ then comes a speedy little keyboard riff followed by by bass then guitar and drums seem to rush in. The song tells of someone who is stressed of modern life to which and advert (hence the name) suggests ‘a holiday somewhere in the sun’ to which the person sarcastically replies ‘go on, say something else’.

Colin Zeal: Alex starts with fast thumping bass then the rest of the band follows. The song is about everyday business man, Colin Zeal who’s ‘a modern retard with a love of bomblast keeps his eye on the news never dwells on the past and then he’ simply ‘looks at his watch, he’s on time yet again.’ Although on paper it may sound boring it’s a fun little pop number with a catchy chorus which I thought was about masturbation. See because of Damon’s accent I thought the chorus was ‘he’s pleasing himself’ but in fact it’s ‘he’s pleased with himself’. The song ends with the normal chorus but also another one is added which sounds like it’s being screamed through a mega phone by Damon which I just love.

Intermission: A short instrumental which revolves around Damon’s piano riff. At first slow with just the piano riff the band comes in and the riff gets faster and faster and the rest of the band desperately trys to keep pace until Graham guitar is screaming distortion and the band slowly come to a chaotic stop to which the original piano riff mockingly plays again.



Chemical World: Geared towards American youth but I fail to see how it’s any less English than the other tracks. Was another single taken from the album but not my favorite of the 3. But it is still a great pop song and the scenery in the music video I just adore. The song itself is about a girl getting evicted from her flat and a peeping Tom who likes to look at his neighbor who is an exhibitionist. Strange song material? Yes. A great pop song? Hell yes.




Sunday Sunday: One of my favorites off the album the song is about is about traditional British Sunday activities, like a Sunday roast, seeing family and a walk in the park. After the horn section the song gets very fast will a wailing organ but then returns to normal speed. The music video shows the band lounging and having I guess a Sunday panic around a trailer in front of tall skyscraper. The video is very happy and bouncy which is how the band seems to move. You can’t help but smile when watching this, you can tell like with most Blur videos the band enjoyed making these and each other’s company.



Star Shaped: A great pop tune and one of the album's best. Blur show their talent for crafting clever melodies in the style of classic British bands like the Beatles and the Kinks. They even throw in an some wind instruments in the mix. This whole song hints of Parklife. I’m not sure what exactly the song is about so I’ll probably get back to on that.




Well that’s about all I can dish out for one afternoon and I hope this gave you a better insight to one of my favorite albums. Blur would go on to get the commercial success and respect they deserve with their next album Parklife and would later go on to evolve out of Britpop unlike their rivals Oasis.
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Last edited by sweet_nothing; 09-01-2008 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 09-01-2008, 10:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is a good Album by Blur but the only songs I like on it is For Tomorrow and Chemical World
I still think Parklife is the best Blur album of all time...
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Old 09-02-2008, 01:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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my fav blur album, easily the defining britpop album of the 90s.
an underrated album by such an under appreciated band.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it's overrated to be honest , it's seen as one of the big 90's albums but apart from a few songs as an album it does very little for me.
I could play Advert all day though.
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Old 09-02-2008, 07:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Looks like we've got an Oasis fan here. jk. Maybe I should of done Parklife instead.
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sweet nothing openly flaunts the fact that he is merely the empty shell of an even more unadmirable member. his loneliness and need for attention bleeds through every letter he types. edit: i would just like to add that i'm ashamed that he's from texas. surely you didn't grow up in texas, did you sweet nothing?
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Actually, this CD is really good. I bought my copy the week it came out back when I was still in college. I think that the best songs on that one are Chemical World and Villa Rosie. On the other CDs:

There's No Other Way - Leisure
She's So High - Leisure
Bang - Leisure
Girls and Boys - Parklife
Tracy Jacks - Parklife
End of a Century - Parklife
Parklife - Parklife
This is a Low - Parklife
Country House - Great Escape
The Universal - Great Escape
Mr. Robinson's Quango - Great Escape
Entertain Me - Great Escape
Beetlebum - self-titled
Song 2 - self-titled
Tender - 13
Coffee and T.V. - 13
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice one man. Easily the best album they did; but then again I love the whole pastoral whimsy thing with some of the shoegaziness carried over from the sublime (but very of it's era) 'Leisure'. Always said it was like 'Village Green Preservation Society' for the 90's... and it definitely kicked of anti-American music thing in britpop.

Their artwork was top notch aswell and you wouldn't get a popular band cutting through the bull**** with something like 'Chemical World' today, for shame. And it predated the reactionary pub jukebox nonsense of Oasis aswell (as much as I love them too).

now go out and buy 'Starshaped'.

edit: been trying to find a modern life is rubbish t-shirt/poster from time ago. demand help
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Starshaped? You mean the documentry? Also try ebay for the shirts and poster.
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sweet nothing openly flaunts the fact that he is merely the empty shell of an even more unadmirable member. his loneliness and need for attention bleeds through every letter he types. edit: i would just like to add that i'm ashamed that he's from texas. surely you didn't grow up in texas, did you sweet nothing?
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Love this album. Listening to it right now.

It's my favourite Blur album and brings back so many good memories.
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Old 09-14-2008, 03:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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yeah the tour doc thing. there's bits and bobs on yotube but the dvd is packed with early Blur goodness
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