100 Greatest Albums of the 90’s: #29

Blur – Modern Life Is Rubbish

What does it mean to be British? We don’t live in castles, have union jack handkerchiefs and I’m pretty sure no British person reading this has a butler, or, for that matter, knows anyone called “Wilfred”. The title of Blur’s second album sums it up very nicely. What does it mean to be British? Dissatisfaction. We’re dissatisfied with the local bus service, the weather, travel sickness, monotonous jobs, the way Americans pronounce the word “aluminium”; we love a good whinge. This trait annoys even ourselves, but ‘Modern Life Is Rubbish’ makes it something to celebrate. Though ‘Parklife’ usually wins the public vote, a sizable chunk of genuine Blur fans swear that this is the superior record, and I don’t like to jump on the bandwagon but I think they’re right. This was really something radical to a British culture that lost its identity to Americanisation. Damon Albarn’s is the voice of every luckless person waiting for Mr/Miss Right, letting out a longing sigh every time they pass a travel agency and fumbling for their ibuprofen on the tube. The music is a joyous rock affair, Graham Coxon’s guitar snapping impatiently one minute and lilting tipsily the next with the odd organ, woodwind or piano burst, just to clarify that they really care about this record. That’s what it sounds like: they really wanted to make this something to be proud of and they succeeded; it’s a smart, diverse record which both provided the blueprint and the standard for the Brit-pop movement. More tea?
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