Thursday, May 9, 2013

modern life is rubbish

Blur reinvented themselves in the wake of bankruptcy and homesickness to create this bold Britpop response to grunge. They had broken into the baggy music scene with their debut album 'Leisure'; but when they decided to move away from that sound on a new single 'Popscene', they found themselves unable to repeat their success. The band found out that they were sixty thousand pounds in debt and were sent by their label Food on an extensive tour of the US to try and recoup some of their losses. While on tour, the band was discouraged by the lackluster response of the crowds to their music and by the overwhelming presence of grunge music. Damon Albarn listened to a tape of the Kinks during the entire tour, which influenced the direction of their new album.

Sessions for 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' began with XTC's Andy Partridge as producer; but the band was unhappy with the results and decided to team up again with Stephen Street, who had produced their hit single 'There's No Other Way'. The group also co-produced with John Smith and Steve Lovell. The album featured Damon Albarn on vocals, piano, and keyboards; Graham Coxon on guitar and backing vocals; Alex James on bass guitar; and Dave Rowntree on drums; with Kick Horns on brass and Kate St John on oboe.

Albarn reveals: "It was me attempting to write in a classic English vein using kind of imagery and words which were much more modern. So it was a weird combination of quiet nostalgic-sounding melodies and chord progressions, [with] these weird caustic lyrics about England as it was at that moment, and the way it was getting this mass Americanized refit ... I was putting my whole existence into Blur's music. I felt very passionate - for the first and last time in my life - about being English. I just felt America had screwed me badly. It had taken away a lot of my dreams (laughs) ... Suede and America fuelled my desire to prove to everyone that Blur were worth it. There was nothing more important in my life. I wouldn't want to feel like that again."

'Modern Life Is Rubbish' only made it to number fifteen on the British album charts; but it marked a new direction for the band and set the stage for their next album. Coxon says: "'Modern Life Is Rubbish' was overlooked because of the rise of grunge, but we were halfway to somewhere ... We were just fighting for our life as a group. We were just writing about everyday life, which was basically pretty awful.”

James considers: "'Modern Life Is Rubbish' had done... something. The time was definitely right to strike with the masterplan. We had a great relationship with the producer. We'd been playing together nearly every day for two or three years - and that's the only way to get good. We understood each other."

"For Tomorrow" 

"Blue Jeans" 

"Chemical World" 

"Sunday Sunday" 

"Miss America" 

'Modern Life Is Rubbish'
full album:

All songs written by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree.

"For Tomorrow" – 4:18
"Advert" – 3:43
"Colin Zeal" – 3:14
"Pressure on Julian" – 3:30
"Star Shaped" – 3:25
"Blue Jeans" – 3:53
"Chemical World" – 4:02
"Intermission" – 2:27
"Sunday Sunday" – 2:36
"Oily Water" – 4:59
"Miss America" – 5:34
"Villa Rosie" – 3:54
"Coping" – 3:23
"Turn It Up" – 3:21
"Resigned" – 5:13
"Commercial Break" – 0:56

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