Parklife by Blur
OK, OK, before I start this review, let me just say this: I’ve never liked so-called “boy bands”. Absolutely can’t stand them. When they don’t have screaming teenage girls at their feet, they’re writing cutesy songs about peace, love, and happiness. Even the masters of the genre, The Beatles (if one must put them under that genre) were huffing LSD while scribbling down “All You Need Is Love”. Yet for some reason or other, I decided on a whim to take a moment to listen to the 90’s Britpop group Blur’s third album Parklife (probably because of it’s rave review in my “1000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” book). And boy, was I glad I did. In short, the album is definitely NOT your typical “boy band” CD. In fact, it’s most likely like nothing you’ve ever heard before or since.Rock, electronica, psychedelia, pop, punk, and even a little bit of thrash (the obnoxious “Bank Holiday”) all make their statement within the 52-minute course of this earth-shattering album. Not that Parklife entirely abandons it’s Britpop premise, of course. The surprisingly Clash-esque “Girls and Boys” will most definitely give teenage girls something to swoon over, as is the slightly cheesy, singalong title track. Also, Damon Albarn’s vocals could sound a lot like the Beatles at times (especially on “To The End”). But with this, their magnificent third album, Blur managed to whip up something that would appeal to both screaming teenage girls and hard-rock fans like me alike. And that, my friends, is no easy feat. Small wonder then, that it received the highest rating (5 out of 5 stars) on the highly critical music aggregator website AllMusic.