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13 [Special Edition]
     

13 [Special Edition]

by Blur
 

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Blur's penitence for Brit-pop continues with the aptly named 13, which deals with star-crossed situations like personal and professional breakups with Damon Albarn's longtime girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and the group's longtime producer, Stephen Street. Building on the group's un-pop

Overview

Blur's penitence for Brit-pop continues with the aptly named 13, which deals with star-crossed situations like personal and professional breakups with Damon Albarn's longtime girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and the group's longtime producer, Stephen Street. Building on the group's un-pop experiments, Blur's ambitions to expand their musical and emotional horizons result in a half-baked baker's dozen of songs, featuring some of their most creative peaks and self-indulgent valleys. Albarn has been criticized for lacking depth in his songwriting, but his ballads remain some of Blur's best moments. When Albarn and crew risk some honesty, 13 shines: on "Tender," Albarn is battered and frail, urged by a lush gospel choir to "get through it." His confiding continues on "1992," which alludes to the beginning -- and ending -- of his relationship with Frischmann. On "No Distance Left to Run," one of 13's most moving moments, Albarn addresses post-breakup ambivalence, sighing, "I hope you're with someone who makes you feel safe while you sleep." While these songs reflect Albarn's romantic chaos, "Mellow Song," "Caramel," and "Trimm Trabb" express day-to-day desperation. Musically, the saddest songs on 13 are also the clearest, mixing electronic and acoustic elements in sleek but heartfelt harmony. However, "B.L.U.R.E.M.I." is a by-the-numbers rave-up, and the blustery "Swamp Song" and "Bugman" nick Blur's old punky glam pop style but sound misplaced here. "Trailerpark" veers in yet another direction, a too-trendy trip-hop ripoff that emphasizes the band's musical fog, proving that William Orbit's kitchen-sink production doesn't serve the songs' -- or the band's -- best interests. 13's strange, frustrating combination of expert musicianship and self-indulgence reveals the sound of a band trying to find itself. With some closer editing, this could have been the emotionally deep, sonically wide album Blur yearn to make. [EMI's deluxe 2012 double-disc expansion of 13 contains the 1999 album on the first disc and a host of B-sides and rarities on the second. Here, the band firmly entrenched itself in its experimental phase, that sense of adventure being reflected on a heavy number of remixes -- every one of the four members has their hand in remixing "Bugman," then Cornelius remixed "Tender" and Parklife's "Far Out" got a Beagle 2 remix -- variations that take the place of the live cuts that ate up a lion's share of the bonus tracks on other 2012 deluxe editions. This also rounds up the non-LP B-sides -- highlights are "All We Want" and "Mellow Jam" -- then adds the fan bait "Music Is My Radar" from the subsequent 2000 comp Blur: The Best Of along with its flip, "Black Book."]

Product Details

Release Date:
07/31/2012
Label:
Virgin Records Us
UPC:
5099964484129
catalogNumber:
44841

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blur   Primary Artist
London Community Gospel Choir   Choir, Chorus
Kiyohiko Senba   Drums
Jason Cox   Drums
Keigo Oyamada   Bass,Guitar

Technical Credits

Blur   Producer
William Orbit   Producer,Engineer
Damon Albarn   Composer,Producer,Remixing
Graham Coxon   Composer,Remixing,Logo,Cover Painting,Additional Production
Alex James   Composer,Remixing
Dave Rowntree   Composer,Remixing
Stephen Street   Producer
Damian leGassick   Pro-Tools
Ben Hillier   Producer,Remixing
Cornelius   Remixing
Tom Girling   Engineer
Miranda Sawyer   Liner Notes,Interviewer
Sean Spuehler   Pro-Tools
Control Freaks   Remixing
Jason Cox   Engineer
John Smith   Engineer
Scott Minshall   Reissue Design
Toyoaki Mishima   Pro-Tools
Nick Franglen   Programming
Hamish Hamilton   Director
Toru Takayama   Engineer
Chris Potter   Producer
Keith Albarn   Image Manipulation

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