Little Known A+ Albums: #8: 13 by blur

Blur is a well known band for one reason:
Song 2 is not on the album 13.
After the success of their self titled album and their first single, Song 2, Blur sunk out of the spotlight.  Their British counterpart, Oasis, took to a mainstream approach and kept coming back after little intermissions with hits.  Blur, however, maintained a more experimental approach to their music.
Before their lead singer, David Albarn, left the band to follow other musical pursuits, namely Gorillaz, the band released a number of awesome albums.  One that stands out, however, is13, released in 1999.
Yes, while Prince was partying and the world began to gather supplies and build bomb shelters, Blur was actually back on MTV with a hit single!  Well…MTV at like 2 in the morning….and it wasn’t much of a hit.  The video I first saw from this album was for the song “Tender” which was actually a #2 best seller on UK charts.  It’s a great song, but it’s kind of long.  Check it out below.
The other video, and the one most popular, I think, was “Coffee and TV.”  It’s a pretty awesome video.  Check it out:
The album didn’t sell that well and ended up being packaged with another Blur album later.  It deserved better.  13 starts off a little slow with “Tender” but picks up quickly with the next song, “Bugman.”  It doesn’t slow down again for a long time.  I think people may have actually got the wrong impression with “Tender” if that was the single they heard.  Even “Coffee and TV” was a little misleading.  The band gets really experimental in this album, and while those songs showcase two entirely different styles of music that the band isn’t known for, it only hints at the fact that this album by Blur doesn’t sound like what you might expect from their prior albums or their original hit “Song 2.”

This is what you're looking for. (the cover...)

The songs often open or end with long intros or long outros.  The lyrics are often nonsensical, and some of the distorted sounds are totally unidentifiable. The album took about 2 listens to grow on me and by the time it did I couldn’t decide what my favorite track was.  The whole album flows together very well as a kind of fingerprinting that you’d want to hang on your wall, each color something new you can’t figure out.

The songs “Battle” and “Bugman” and two prime examples of my points.  “Bugman” is fast, loud, and ends with a long and interesting arangement.  “Battle” is a spacey, slow song that seems just about the polar opposite of “Bugman.”  By the end of the album, you’ve experienced so much in sound that you feel like you’ve just learned something.
This A+ album deserves to be higher on the list, but it’s not as little known as some of the other’s I’m going to write about, and also I don’t think it’s such a tough sell to you, the reader.  The songs on 13 are fun, interesting, and at times, insightful.  I really hope you’ll all check it out.  You can get it on for only 50 cents!

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