Blur 20 Moonmix

It is now just over 20 years since Blur released their 5th LP and 1997 now feels like more than just last century, but from another universe entirely. For many, it was a time of hope and a time to look forward to the new millennium, but the year or so before had not been so great for Blur. They are said to have come close to calling it a day, but thankfully Damon Albarn came round to Graham Coxon's view that they needed to make music "to scare people again".

The result is my favourite Blur LP, just pipping Modern Life Is Rubbish - another album that they recorded during a very difficult period for the band, and I think their best era  due to the sheer weight of great songs released, as highlighted on An Imaginary Soundtrack from Blur on The Moon

The Blur album era does not have the same number of great non-album tracks, but it does have a whole album of remixes released as Bustin' + Dronin' and the best of it all taken together in the playlist below, does come close to matching the Modern Life Is Rubbish era.

In Beetlebum, it contains one for the greatest UK number One singles and Song 2 is, appropriately, the greatest UK number two hit single ever. It was a track that apparently only took half an hour to record, but has probably gone on to earn them more cash than all their previous records combined.

The more alternative sound was not a great surprise to long term Blur fans, it was just the sort of music that many hoped they would make, the only surprise was that they were singles and not just album or non-album tracks. They were just reclaiming their past but then they also embraced the future with the remixes and with Death of a Party which is proto-Gorillaz as is I 'm Just A Killer For Your Love - if remixed by Graham Coxon.

From Bustin' + Dronin',  I have taken the versions of my two least favourite tracks from the album - Movin' On is a pretty run of the mill Blur song, but William Orbit transformed it into one their finest moments and On Your Own, seen as a big chorus third single back up that has been referred to by Albarn as "one of the first ever Gorillaz tunes", is replaced by the more interesting Crouch End Broadway mix also by Orbit. It also includes Moby's remix of Beetlebum, which is transformed into a great Moby track.

I think it has all aged very well and the sound and songs are more appropriate and relevant now than in 1997.

I do think there is a massive amount of great new music being released now and Albarn and Coxon have continued to release great music over the last 20 years but they have not bettered what they released in 1997 with Alex James, Dave Rowntree, Stephen Street and the various remixers, and neither has anyone else.

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