Blur "The Magic Whip"


Britpop is dead.


This statement isn’t breaking news, as the majority of the artists of the mid-90’s movement (Oasis, Pulp, The Verve, Suede, etc) have all been dormant for at least a few years now.


So, it is with some surprise that one of the era’s biggest successes, Blur, have returned with a new album.  I say “some” surprise, as the band had established a pretty heavy “will they or won’t they” vibe about a new album since their reunion in 2009.


If you are expecting a return to the band’s heyday hits like “There’s No Other Way” and “Girls and Boys”, I’m sorry to inform you that you will be disappointed. Also, The band’s singer, Damon Albarn, has been very prolific as of late, he released his solo debut last year and is reportedly re-booting two of his side-projects: the cartoon band Gorillaz, and the supergroup The Good, The Bad and the Queen.  


Although at times it seems a few of these tracks might sound at home on a Gorillaz album, it should be noted that this is not just another Damon Albarn project. This is also not the first time Blur has attempted a “reboot”. Production of the group’s 2003 album,Think Tank caused the departure of founding guitarist and songwriter, Graham Coxon. Coxon’s talent was greatly missed in 2003, and his return to this new album is part of what makes it so great. In fact, all four of these gentlemen still have many great things to bring to the world.  


It is a showcase to their collective talent that this album was conceived if only to pass the time while the band was stuck in Hong Kong over 5 days in 2013.  From there, Coxon took the tracks to producer Stephen Street (who had worked on most of Blur’s britpop albums in the 90’s) to complete the disc.  


The Magic Whip is as sprawling as many of their great releases - from mellow ballads to catchy punk-esque numbers, you can almost imagine the band wandering the streets of Hong Kong while conceiving these melodies and lyrics.

Blur circa 2015 have not totally abandoned their pop roots, it’s just that the world has changed and so has popular music.  Britpop is dead, and instead of reviving it to a zombie-like state, Blur has chosen the path of the mythical Phoenix by rebuilding from it’s ashes.

- Brian Siewiorek