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Parklife (Special Edition)

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Their third album, Parklife turned Blur into superstars throughout Europe. The album is so deliberately British in its celebration of a lad's life that U.S. audiences were either befuddled or entranced by this alien culture. It's a concept album in the best sense of the word, with the songs playing off one another while exploring a number of musical styles. Shades of Eurodisco inform the gender-bending "Girls and Boys," adding a fresh attack to a group whose singer, Damon Albarn, pulled greatly from the tradition of the Kinks and the Jam. Albarn's wit and insight elevated the group beyond the myopic effects of 1990s grunge. It's his playful sense -- melodically and lyrically -- that brings brisk joy to the cheery pop of "Tracy Jacks" and the decline of the British Empire punk of "Bank Holiday." The title track plays out like a football chant (that's soccer here in the States). The instrumental "The Debt Collector" serves as an intermission before the creepiness of "Far Out." Bonus cuts on the Special Edition include a Pet Shop Boys remix of "Girls and Boys," an acoustic version of "End of a Century" and the bizarre, countryfied "Red Necks."


Formed: 1989 in Colchester, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Initially, Blur were one of the multitude of British bands that appeared in the wake of the Stone Roses, mining the same swirling, pseudo-psychedelic guitar pop, only with louder guitars. Following an image makeover in the mid-'90s, the group emerged as the most popular band in the U.K., establishing itself as heir to the English guitar pop tradition of the Kinks, the Small Faces, the Who, the Jam, Madness, and the Smiths. In the process, the group broke down the doors for a new generation of guitar...
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Parklife (Special Edition), Blur
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