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on 21 May 2001
This was the album that very nearly broke the back of Blur in their native Britain. Released at the same time as Oasis' ''(What's The Story) Morning Glory)'', which sold considerably more copies, Blur became victims of the age old British adage of putting someone on a pedastal so you can knock them down. Suddenly, lead singer Damon Albarn couldn't walk down the street without someone yelling the latest Oasis tune in his ear. It was the mother of all backlashes. Which is strange, because ''The Great Escape'' is a superb album. Fizzling with musical invention, (the ethereal, nightmarish guitars on ''He Thought Of Cars'') and lyrical gems, (''They're on the leather sofa, they're on the patio./And when the fun is over, watch themselves on video'' from ''Stereotypes''), it was a noted progression from ''Parklife''. Guitarist Graham Coxon established himself as the finest of his generation, bending his sounds around Albarns songs in much the same way as a painter colours in the white gaps of a rough sketch (especially on the melancholic ''Best Days''). The grandiose ''The Universal'' is a genuine throat lumper, swelling with Bacharian strings. And ''Entertain Me'' revisits the stomping disco beat of ''Girls And Boys'', matching a cracking tune with yearning lyrics. It's no surprise to learn that The Smiths were idols of Albarn and co.There's even the token punk song, (''Globe Alone''), that Blur always throw on to their records. It's a measure of Blurs self belief that the ensuing backlash following ''The Great Escape''s release didn't break them. And it's a sign of genuis that they went on to make even better records. Because this is an excellent album.
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on 29 November 2010
I always liked Blur and had been meaning to purchase all 7 albums and see for myself the wonderful life of Blur. First off as I read the reviews of this album it seems like no one has an opinion and everyone follows whatever the negative reviews say to fit and say that it is Blur at there worst. Are you joking honestly this album is slated because of what a few people think it is not as good as Parklife. Who cares do we really need a Parklife no,Blur needed to move on and thank god they did.There are some pure excellent songs on this album but no one seems to notice and it's a shame. In some ways I really like this album and prefer this to other releases of there's but the negativity hype surrounding this release will sadly never go away I think if you are reading this and you hate the album because your a sheep if i could reach out of my computer screen and slap you with this very album on CD i will be more than happy to.

Charmless Man and Country House are classics and it is easy to see that because these do stick out compared to the other tracks but they have all the good bit of magic to them. I can't stress enough that if you are reading the reviews that talk garbage get this album and see for yourselves.

For the price you are paying i must say just click to purchase when you just about to buy a few blur albums and see for yourself. It is defiantly worth having and thinking about it. Honestly this album makes you think in so many ways..
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on 7 September 2000
Although I can understand why so many people slate this album, I can't agree with them. Sure, it may be somewhat overproduced, but LISTEN to the album instead of going along with the majority and you'll discover a much-maligned classic. Of course there are poor tracks (TOPMAN and and Dan Abnormal for me), but there are also some of the bands best ever tracks (The Universal, Stereotypes, Best Days and the stunning He Thought of Cars).
This album was recorded at the peak of Britpop, just as Parklife when ballastic, and when released, got much more favourable releases than Oasis' What's the Story? It was only when the backlash kicked in towards Christmas '95 that everyone started slating the album. Perhaps the melancholy feel and depressing lyrics (even the Country House lyrics are depressing when you listen to them!) are hard for many to listen to, whilst Oasis' required no real effort on the listener's part.
One day this album will be given the credit it deserves.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 August 2014
Blur's fourth album 'The Great Escape' spawned a string of hit singles, and several solid album only cuts. Competing with Oasis in a chart war known as 'The Battle of Britpop' in 1995, their single 'Country House' was released the same day as Oasis' 'Roll with It', with Blur winning, reaching the top spot. However, Oasis' album '(What's the Story) Morning Glory' sold considerably more than Blur's. 'The Great Escape' is mostly a very tongue-in-cheek and all around funny observation of upper middle-class life.

Other singles that were issued from this CD have all become Britpop classics, including the fun, anthem like 'Stereotypes', evergreen 'Charmless Man', and the science fiction themed 'The Universal', which remains one of the band's best songs, which is still constantly used in television adverts to this day. With so many excellent hits, and fan favourites like 'Best Days' and 'He Thought Of Cars', this is a first class album, and in my eyes, outshines Parklife, whilst not quit managing to top the incredible Modern Life Is Rubbish.

Do yourself a favour, check out the deluxe edition: The Great Escape, where you'll get the album, plus a bonus disc of all the B sides from every single that was released off the album, including some awesome live performances of 'Country House', 'Girls and Boys', 'Parklife', and 'For Tomorrow', recorded at Mile End. Both CDs are housed in a box with a lid, and you'll also be getting a booklet featuring brand new interviews with each band member, previously unseen photographs, and four artwork postcards. It's worth the extra money, trust me.
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on 12 March 2008
Following the huge success of the timeless Parklife, Blur were riding high as the hybrow kings of Britpop. They were as brilliant live as they had become in the studio and frontman Damon Albarn was the Uk's most recognised pop star (alongside the Oasis brother's).
So it's no surprise that soon after the band released the Great Escape, and it's lead single 'Country House', in 1995 that the vultures had began to circle. Blur suffered a backlash that would see them abandon Britpop entirely in favour of a far more extreme and experimental sound. In the long run this probaly saved the band from imploding and certainly got the critics back on side.
So how does The Great Escape stand up today ? Surprisingly well. The perky 'Country House' hit the number one spot but is probably one of the bands weakest singles. 'Charmless Man' and 'Stereotypes' extended Blur's run of smart, melodic and catchy pop hits whilst 'The Universal' still sounds as brittle and brilliant as it always did. There are enough hooks, clever lyrics and tight inventive arrangements (and ken Livingstone !) on The Great Escape to make the album one of the bands most accessible. It isn't anywhere near as consistent as Parklife but neither is it the fractured, over reaching dissaster that history records.
Apparently this is still a favourite of guitarist Graham Coxon who claims The Great Escape as Blur's great lost record. He may well be right.

cw
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on 11 November 2000
The Great Escape is by far the better of blur's other albums,although "blur" and "13" are approached differently with no more tracks about characters.Unlike the Great Escape which is full of upbeat tunes and great lyrics of which you can understand.To me by far their best album to date.
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on 7 December 2010
I bought this album YEARS ago and lost it... I picked it up again and it is still exceptional. A fantastic piece of pure Blur, social satire and fantastic tunes, with a little touch of madness. It can be a bit of a grower but it's worth every listen.
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on 21 March 2000
Blur have always been slated for there music but this album has some amazing tunes on it and they really showed that Blur could change. I understand that people thought they were rubbish as they had so much to live up to with three albums behind them but they needed to make this one to really show that though they were international stars sometimes things don't go as planned. The great thing about the album is how the music is so excellent to chill too people get into the vibe of it. It is worth listening too as it has passion and insight into their lives, alot better than the cheesey music era that we have entered today. Brilliant CD to chill too.
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on 5 July 2009
Whereas the release of Parklife was still a bit overshadowed by the death of a certain Kurt Cobain, the band's prominence during the next year ensured Blur would get all the attention with the release of its 1995 album The Great Escape. Oh yeah, how could I forget: there was the whole overblown Blur-Oasis feud that was so ridiculous it must have been a set-up (and did they really have that much in common?). Well, the one good thing it led to was that the album sales got a boost and that's always a good thing. People like Robbie Williams make a living because of events like that. Anyway this review is about the long-awaited sequel to Parklife, but come to think of it, the whole superficial nonsense surrounding the new album was fitting. On many levels, The Great Escape was treated as a decent sequel, but a few listens made sure you'd alter that view. If anything, this album is the less commercial, less lightweight and less optimistic (well, the previous one does sound optimistic compared to this one) counterpart of Parklife. Even more so: from the album art, to the lyrics, to the purposely more detached music, it's a release that's obsessed with appearances.

While those who weren't paying attention thought of it as another jolly album, most people did smell the rotten core beneath the shiny surface (cf. the last page of the booklet). Well, "rotten" may be an exaggeration, but the lives that are depicted during these songs are utterly devoid of content and genuine emotions. "Stereotypes" evokes the introduction to David Lynch's Blue Velvet, a world where everything seems perfect, too perfect, uncomfortably perfect. And the protagonists? Well, they have to get their kicks out of naughty games. Quite similar to the mechanic jerk-pop of "Stereotypes" are "Ernold Same" (musically, one of the least interesting songs), a portrait of catatonia, and the Specials-influenced "Fade Away," whose protagonists happened to stumble into their lives, hollow inside. Of course, Albarn's antipathy towards America made sure he created some decidedly English (British?) stories, such as "Country House" and "Charmless Man." Both of these songs are probably the reason why many people thought of The Great Escape as a sequel. Nearly as catchy as the bouncy stuff on Parklife, they combine the more traditional song-writing skills of Ray Davies (a merger of Face to Face's infectiousness and Arthur's seriousness) with the sounds and ideas of the nineties, with especially Coxon coming off as particularly inventive (I should dedicate an extra paragraph to his underrated skills, but I'll pass on the honour to the specialists). The charmless man knows his Claret from his Beaujolais and pretends he's notorious gangster Ronnie Kray, but ultimately, "no one's listening," while the professional cynic in "Country House" (allegedly based on some guy they'd worked with) is doomed to be lonely. Interesting side-note here: there's also a reference to Oasis' second album, with "Now he's got morning glory, life's a different story" (or is it the other way around, can somebody tell me?).

Anyway, during these songs, the pitiable characters are wallowing in their empty existence, or dreaming of escaping their dreary lives, like in "It Could Be You" (about the lottery - "Don't worry if it's not your lucky number, because tomorrow there is another"), "He Thought of Cars" (actually a quite darker and more interesting song than the title suggests) and "The Universal" ("Tomorrow is your lucky day") that aims for the heights of "This Is a Low," and nearly makes it. Interestingly (to me, that is), two of my favorite songs on this album are ones that hardly anyone ever mentions. The first is the silly "Top Man" that has "Julian Cope" all over it in capital letters (that's probably why then - isn't Cope the greatest of all British eccentrics?), the second is the danceable "Entertain Me" that's a fitting addition to this album, with it's near-robotic rhythms, phoned-in vocals (and Albarn does sound a lot like Mark E. Smith here!), and typical Blur-chorus. I've also grown quite fond of the weird ballad "Yuko and Hiro," while "Globe Alone" once again proves the band is quite good at making Casio-punk. Despite some weaker songs ("Ernold Same," the tough but sub-standard "Mr. Robinson's Quango" and "Dan Abnormal" (it's an anagram - remember Dan Abnormal also appeared on Elastica's debut?)), The Great Escape doesn't deserve the bad reputation (well, that's my impression) it has today. OK, it was an overproduced album, but I consider that a part of the package. At this point, they had painted themselves into a corner (and luckily their next direction would be something entirely different), but inside this overlong and quite uneven release, there lurks another excellent 40-minute album.
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on 27 November 2012
It is the second time I buy this album. I lost it when I was young and now I buy it again not so young.
Perfect.
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