Blur were after the group's major commercial successes with "Parklife" and "The Great Escape" tired of all the hype and the predicate pop band. Especially guitarist Graham Coxon wanted and needed to explore the possibilities his guitar playing and had a general urge to broaden the scope of Blur's music.
The album "Blur" is also markedly different from its predecessors. Dave Albarn great sense of the melodic, however, shines through on many songs significantly despite the different and at times odd approaches.
Maybe a little unexpected for the group itself, the album was a huge commercial success and indeed a breakthrough for the group in the U.S.. No less than four top twenty singles are featuring on the album, with the fantastic "Beetlebum" and "Song 2" as classics. "M.O.R" is as the title suggests middle of the road rock, while "On Your Own" must be classified as a very unusual choice of a single - nevertheless it is a highlight with its Bowie/Hunter approach.
Among the actual album tracks "Death of a Party" and "Look Inside America" are also standouts. Some of the other tracks come out for me somewhat weaker in the picture - and you may get to feel that some parts of experimenting, are just for experiment's sake. And oh, I was almost forgetting another favorite "Country Sad Ballad Man" - acoustic, weird and melodic.
CD 2 contains the many b-sides of the four singles, excerpts from a fine unplugged concert in Germany and three tracks from a live performance in Belgium. Most B-sides belong to the loose experimental end. Very good, however, is "All Your Life", which in my opinion, should have been included on the original album.
Despite the slightly uneven general inpression, I will not hesitate to call the album a classic.