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Parklife
     

Parklife

4.5 2
by Blur
 

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Smart, snotty, and steadfastly Anglocentric, Blur has crafted some of the most fully realized pop albums of the decade. This 1994 set -- which elevated the quartet to stadium-filling status in Europe -- might be its most conceptual, focused as it is on a Brit's-eye view of leisure time. It also marks a new high-water mark in terms of musical development, with the

Overview

Smart, snotty, and steadfastly Anglocentric, Blur has crafted some of the most fully realized pop albums of the decade. This 1994 set -- which elevated the quartet to stadium-filling status in Europe -- might be its most conceptual, focused as it is on a Brit's-eye view of leisure time. It also marks a new high-water mark in terms of musical development, with the inclusion of diverse elements like bubbly Eurodisco (to underpin the debauched "Girls and Boys") and Noel Coward-derived music hall mugging (as evinced by the jaunty title track). Singer Damon Albarn's deadpan delivery cuts cleanly through the jostle of punky guitars, lush strings, and Northern Soul arrangements, letting listeners focus on his provocative lyrical vignettes. More than just about any album since Ray Davies's late-'60s heyday, Parklife brings social commentary into song form without eliciting so much as a single groan.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Modern Life Is Rubbish established Blur as the heir to the archly British pop of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and the Jam, but its follow-up, Parklife, revealed the depth of that transformation. Relying more heavily on Ray Davies' seriocomic social commentary, as well as new wave, Parklife runs through the entire history of post-British Invasion Britpop in the course of 16 songs, touching on psychedelia, synth pop, disco, punk, and music hall along the way. Damon Albarn intended these songs to form a sketch of British life in the mid-'90s, and it's startling how close he came to his goal; not only did the bouncy, disco-fied "Girls & Boys" and singalong chant "Parklife" become anthems in the U.K., but they inaugurated a new era of Brit-pop and lad culture, where British youth celebrated their country and traditions. The legions of jangly, melodic bands that followed in the wake of Parklife revealed how much more complex Blur's vision was. Not only was their music precisely detailed -- sound effects and brilliant guitar lines pop up all over the record -- but the melodies elegantly interweaved with the chords, as in the graceful, heartbreaking "Badhead." Surprisingly, Albarn, for all of his cold, dispassionate wit, demonstrates compassion that gives these songs three dimensions, as on the pathos-laden "End of a Century," the melancholy Walker Brothers tribute "To the End," and the swirling, epic closer, "This Is a Low." For all of its celebration of tradition, Parklife is a thoroughly modern record in that it bends genres and is self-referential (the mod anthem of the title track is voiced by none other than Phil Daniels, the star of Quadrophenia). And, by tying the past and the present together, Blur articulated the mid-'90s Zeitgeist and produced an epoch-defining record.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/14/1994
Label:
Wb / Parlophone
UPC:
0724382919421
catalogNumber:
291944
Rank:
49025

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blur   Primary Artist
Phil Daniels   Trombone,Horn,Narrator
Damon Albarn   Synthesizer,Strings,Harpsichord,Hammond Organ,Recorder,Vocals,Background Vocals,Melodica,Moog Synthesizer,Vibes
Simon Clarke   Flute,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Graham Coxon   Acoustic Guitar,Clarinet,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Saxophone,Vocals,Background Vocals
Richard Edwards   Trombone
Louise Fuller   Violin
Stephen Hague   Piano
Alex James   Guitar,Vocals,Noise
Roddy Lorimer   Trombone
Ivan McCready   Cello
Leo Payne   Strings
Mark Pharoah   Violin
Chris Pitsillides   Strings
Audrey Riley   Strings
Dave Rowntree   Percussion,Drums,Noise,Crowd Noise
Laetitia Sadier   Vocals
Tim Sanders   Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Stephen Street   Keyboards
Far Out   Bass Guitar,Crowd Noise
John Metcalfe   Viola
Christopher Tombling   Strings
Rick Koster   Violin

Technical Credits

Damon Albarn   Programming
Kevin Godley   Director
Stephen Hague   Producer,Engineer
Dave Rowntree   Programming
Stephen Street   Programming,Sound Effects,Producer
John Smith   Producer,Engineer
John Metcalfe   Arranger

Customer Reviews

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Parklife 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very creative... not quite like anything else. One of my favorite Britpop albums.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago