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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Rewind: 13 - Blur (1999)

13 - Blur
Food Records
Produced by William Orbit and Blur
Released 15th March 1999
UK Chart #1
US Chart #80

The album was released on CD, Cassette and as a Double Vinyl package. Here's the tracklisting for the Vinyl:
A1 Tender    
A2 Bugman    
A3 Coffee & TV    
B1 Swamp Song    
B2 1992    
B3 B.L.U.R.E.M.I.    
C1 Battle    
C2 Mellow Song    
C3 Trailerpark*    
D1 Caramel    
D2 Trimm Trabb    
D3 No Distance Left To Run    
D4 Optigan 1

*All songs were produced by William Orbit with the exception of this one which was a Blur production.

Damon Albarn – vocals, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, acoustic guitar, melodica, backing vocals on "Coffee & TV"
Graham Coxon – lead and rhythm guitars, banjo, saxophone, lead vocals on "Coffee & TV", backing vocals
Alex James – bass guitar, backing vocals
Dave Rowntree – drums, percussion
The London Community Gospel Choir - vocals on "Tender"
Jason Cox - additional drums on "Battle"

Singles on 13
Tender / All We Want
Released 22nd February 1999
UK Chart #2

A-Side: Tender

1 Coffee + TV (Single Edit) 5:19
2 Trade Stylee (Alex's Bugman Remix) 5:59
3 Metal Hip Slop (Graham's Bugman Remix) 4:17
4 Coyote (Dave's Bugman Remix) 3:51
5 X-Offender (Damon / Control Freak's Bugman Remix) 5:40

Released 22nd June 1999
UK Chart #11

Released 15th November 1999
UK Chart #14


13 is the sixth studio album from Blur. It was a bit of a move away from the Indie Rock/Britpop sound that had dominated previous records and was far more experimental, electronica and a bit psychedelica in places.

William Orbit was brought in as producer as the band moved away a bit from the sound that Stephen Street had given them and if anyone knew about experimental it was certainly Orbit!

The album was also a bit darker lyrically as Damon Albarn pondered his recent break up with with long term girlfriend Justine.

13 entered the charts at #1 and became the fourth Blur album to hit the Top Spot. Any fears that a change of musical direction would hamper the success of the album were clearly laid to waste and maybe a lot of that has to do with the lead single release Tender which appeared a few weeks prior to the album.

Tender was a great choice for the single and was only held off the #1 spot by Britney Spears' Baby One More Time.With lyrics written by both Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon and backed by The London Community Gospel Choir it soars like no other Blur song! It is my absolutely favourite song from the band. I love the performance of the song from Glastonbury in 2009.

I listened to the whole album for the first time in probably ten years today and whilst it was good to hear it again I did find it a little irritating in places (B.L.U.R.E.M.I. and Trailerpark - which sounded like a bad impression of The Fall - for instance) but 1992, Battle, Mellow Song, and the almost bluesy No Distance To Run really stood out.

But probably the reason I've not played the album as a whole for all these years is that I can rarely get beyond the opening track Tender because it just seems like a totally perfect pop song to me and everything else that follows just seems to fall flat when weighed up against it!
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