on 22 May 2007
One thing i would like to make clear from the outset. This album is from the tail end of the baggy era. Four years before the Britpop explosion some reviewers have lumped it in. Containing three great baggy anthems and some great shoe-gazed tinged pop Blur seemed to be in the right place at the right time with this album. The album also shows glimpses of their darker songwriting style that would return with more prominence several albums down the line. This is a stronger album than many people credit it for. No classic...but good.
on 18 January 2011
Before I begin this review, I do have a few questions regarding the front cover of this album. Why is it a picture of a weird looking woman from the 1950's? Why is she wearing a swimcap decorated with flowers? Why are her eyebrows so huge? Why is her face caked in makeup? And what does the cover have anything to do with the music on this album? (sighs) I just don't understand this world sometimes.
Moving on, this is 1991's "Leisure," the debut album from the popular Brit Rock band, and arch rivals of Oasis, Blur. Things get off to a good start with SHE'S SO HIGH. The medium pace of the song, echoed lyrics, and the strong drumbeat ooze of 90's quality. For some reason the first 30 seconds of the song reminded me of the Town Square level in the Spyro The Dragon video game for the PSone. Don't know why, though. But after listening to it you'll be as high as the girl in the song...high with excitement over how good it is. To me this is the best track on the album.
BANG, which appears to be about how time flies, is as close to a dancebeat tune as you're gonna get without actually being a dancebeat tune. Not that I'm complaining because it's another good song. SLOW DOWN is OK, but is nothing spectacular, not even with the change of pace halfway through. REPETITION does exactly what it says on the tin. It repeats the word "try" over and over again, and at 5:25 it's just too much of a drag. Clearly not one of Blur's finest hours.
BAD DAY is a good tune to listen to. It's bright, chipper, and the use of the harmonica and accordion (I'm pretty sure both are being used) at the beginning of the track actually work. Not bad considering the latter instrument is usually associated with Morris dancing. SING is by far one of the worst songs on the album. It's far too long, it sounds very depressing, and the lyrics are so badly slurred it makes you wonder if Damon Albarn was having a stroke when the band recorded this song.
The drums and the electric guitar are put to good use in THERE'S NO OTHER WAY. It makes me wanna put on a leather jacket and walk down a city street saying "Look how cool I am." That's how cool it is. FOOL maybe about being confused, but there's nothing confusing about the quality of this tune. It's very good, and so is COME TOGETHER which has a hint of heavy metal in it. I'm not a big fan of heavy metal but it works this time.
HIGH COOL is not too shabby, although the bass and drums make it feel a tad too hippy 70's for my liking. The next song might be called BIRTHDAY, but I wouldn't advise you to sing this to the US President. Its slow pace is more suited to marriage breakups, and not even a sudden burst of drumming two thirds of the way in can save it from being dull. Fortunately the album ends on a positive note with WEAR ME DOWN. But for the softly sung lyrics this tune could actually be used as entrance music for a WWE wrestler, thanks to its strong guitar sounds.
Overall "Leisure" is a very good album. It does contain a couple of duds, but it's mainly good. Anyone with an interest in Blur or Brit Rock music should take a look at this.
on 6 April 2005
While it may be fashionable to dismiss this album, and the band themselves may wish to distance themselves from it somewhat due to their circumstance at the time, the music on Leisure is still (to my ears) quite good. Should we disparage that there are the marks of the alleged "shoegazer" sound and Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine influences? I have no idea why. While some tracks, like Fool, are not all that good... there is nothing bad here. And Bang is still an entirely catchy song... intelligent or mature lyrically? No. but it's not dumb, either...
While I do view Modern Life is Rubbish as a wonderful expansion of Blur's style, Leisure is a major accomplishment. And may I dare say that I'm happy to have "I Know" (which suits the album much better) on my U.S. version instead of "Sing" (though I'd like to have had both)
on 7 May 2001
It's Blur, captain, but not as we know it. It's lucky that Damon's voice is so distinctive, otherwise you would have thought this was a completely different band. Despite the rather dull and uninspiring lyrics, this is still a hell of a lot of fun to listen to, with some great tunes and though quite a lot of the songs are fairly similar and unremarkable, their are exceptions (The beautiful, dreamlike 'Sing', 'Bang', an energetic and exciting song (and probably Leisure's only song that sounds like it could have come from a later album) and the frantic, era-defining 'There's no other way'). It isn't really the Blur we know, but it's definitely a hell of a lot of fun!
on 15 September 2013
As a debut album for Blur this is a good effort, but comparing this to their later albums, it is definitely not their best. By listening to 'Leisure' you can immediately tell that Blur played it safe, by not including interesting twists or sudden surprises in the album, unlike what they did later on.
Despite this, almost all the tunes on 'Leisure' are very catchy and contain some fantastic, complicated bass lines (especially on the faster tracks), uplifting drum rhythms, and some really great guitar riffs and countermelodies. The tracks I particularly like are 'Slow Down', 'Repetition' and 'There's No Other Way' because they are fun and easy songs to listen to and are also seriously catchy, even if the melodies are really simple.
So what's not so good about it? Well, many of the tracks on the album are very similar, with lyrics making hardly any sense and sounding like they were written in the studio at the very last minute...well, because they were. Also, tracks like 'Bang', 'Fool' and 'High Cool' all contain too many 'ahhs' and this slightly spoils them in my opinion because you get the impression that they are there just to fill in the gaps, making the lyrics sound incomplete. If you listen to later albums like 'Parklife' or 'Blur', you may find yourself wondering if 'Leisure' is even by the same band!
But don't let these faults put you off too much, because this is not bad for a first album and every artist has to start somewhere.
Personally, I would not recommend 'Leisure' if you've only recently taken an interest in Blur, but you might as well have it if you've listened to a lot of their music because it is still a good, decent album to have. If you are particularly fond of Blur's early music, I would suggest that you buy 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' before this.
Hope this helps!
on 13 December 1999
Ignore the bad dress sense and style of Dameon and friends on the cover, this record although 8 years old still sounds great, and shows what an amazing span of styles this world class band can produce. One of my favourite albums ever.
on 28 October 2002
This is an often overlooked indie album. For sure it's incoherent at times, but having 4 separate producers didn't help. It also sounds dated at times - listen to the baggy drums of Bang, or the pointless noise outbreak of Slowdown. Some songs sound like homages to My Bloody Valentine, the Smiths or other indie bands. It's a floppy-fringed indie album unafraid to show it's influences and not add anything new. There's some great songs here - She is so High, the haunting Sing. But there's also some poor indie-by-numbers songs (Bang, Repetition). It's a good fun party album, but there's none of the emotional songs you associate with later Blur. The lyrics are often very simple with terrible rhymes or simply inaudable under feedback. I still like this album better than most of the others Blur did, the production is nice and crisp and there's some classic songs here. As I say it's a good album to get drunk and dance to, it's probably the Blur album I've listened to most. Just don't expect anything like the Universal.
The Bsides from around this period are far superior to the album tracks. If Luminous and Inertia (and others) were included it would be far better.
on 29 June 2009
Alongside Oasis, Blur are one of the most popular bands of the last 20 years but despite the albums that followed like Parklife and their self titled 1997 effort, this album is probably their weakest effort, Damon Albarn sounds frustrated and despite the obvious classics on this album it really isn't the best way to start your musical career. It isn't a bad effort infact its actually stood the test of time suprisingly well but even the most diehard Blur fan can say that this probably is their weakest effort, yet after all this, after hearing the first 2 singles off the album, She's so High and Theres no other way, when you release 2 singles like that before the albu is released it really does sound like a possible classic, shame that so many of the songs are lyrically weak and to be honest the album sounds like a band that are frustrated. They would go on to release far better albums than this one and despite being a decent if unspectacular album it has actually aged well.
Key Tracks:She's so High,Sing,There's no Other Way,Wear me Down
Also Buy: 'Storm in Heaven' by The Verve
on 20 January 2001
Blur's debut album is one of their best. It has loads of good songs, like there's no other way, birthday, bang and bad day. hmm, you know what, i think all the songs are great.i think this album is not as good as Blur or 13, but better than Modern Life is Rubbish and The Great Escape. go buy it.
on 20 October 2015
Leisure may not be the first album you would normally associate with Blur's vast back catalogue, but it still has enough charm to make it worth revisiting after all these years. With tracks such as "She's So High" and "There's No Other Way," you can hear the distinct approach to Britpop in just its creative infancy.
Whilst it may not be their best album from the decade that introduced the band to the masses, it is worth checking out to hear its initial foundations in which their creative peaks will be soared with latter albums. This album may probably one for the collectors, or fans of this proto-Britpop.