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4.5 out of 5 stars
Parklife
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2003
This album is the point in Blur's rambling musical career where it all came together. The band may well disagree with this, but this is the most cohesive album they produced. Rather than remembering Blur for two and a half minutes of screaming (Song 2) or for their tussles with Oasis (Country house, Charmless man), I'd suggest you take a look at this album.
Its simply a very very perceptive interpretation of a British way of life . 'Girls and Boys' takes you on a club 18-30, 'End of a Century' returns you to suburbia. 'Parklife' makes a slob of you, 'London Loves' deposits you in the rush hour and 'Magic America' gives you the dreams of escaping to bright lights. Finally, in one of the most beautiful moments of the nineties 'This is a Low' leaves you soaring over the land you know and love before 'Lot 106' brings a stupid grin to your face.
Its an evocative album, musically great, and most importantly its the best thing Blur ever did. Don't get the greatest hits, buy this instead. And then buy the rest of the albums.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2000
Music critics have never had shorter memories than when they have dealt with Blur. When 'The Great Escape', the sequel to 'Parklife', was released, they rightly hailed it as a classic. Ask them now, however, and you won't find many who will even admit to ever liking it - the music press follows fashion just like the rest of us. But all this is a round-the-houses way of saying that only the most ardent Blur-haters will think the same of 'Parklife'. Not a note is out of place, not a song fails to captivate. From the initial shock of Girls and Boys to the monumental, magnificent ending of This Is A Low (not forgetting the playful coda of Lot 105, a trick they tried again with less success on '13'), this is arguably the album of the decade. With pop music in possibly its unhealthiest condition since it was invented, we can only look back in wonder at albums like 'Parklife' and hope that somehow, somewhere, rock and roll will return for that one last encore all over again.
Blur, meanwhile, are just as interesting now as they were then, perhaps even more so, but will they ever release a record of this stature again?
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A quasi-concept album about Britain and its Americanisation, Parklife is the peak of Blur, coming as the second part of their Britpop trilogy, after the poorly received (commercially at least) Modern Life Is Rubbish and before the decent The Great Escape. It also came out in the same year as Oasis' debut album shook the world's foundations and the Blur vs. Oasis battle began. Funnily enough, unlike the Beatles vs. Beach Boys rivalry thirty years earlier, both bands produced their greatest work before even beginning their competition, Oasis with their debut and Blur with this masterpiece.

Countless elements of Britain and its people are explored across this album's 53 enthralling minutes; monarchism in 'Jubilee;' everyday proletarianism in the title track; fashion trends and subcultures, as well as millenial interest in 'End Of A Century'; bank holidays on...well, 'Bank Holiday'; taxation and debt on 'The Debt Collector.' No stone is left unturned.

And from this concept/theme you get some of Blur's finest songs. The title track is famous thanks to Phil Daniels, but really not one of the standouts here. The elegaic 'Badhead,' with its chiming guitar and tasteful brass, is lovely, while 'Tracy Jacks' addresses stereotypes (better than the other Blur song of that name) with the line 'I'd love to stay here and be normal but it's just so overrated.' ]

Throughout, Albarne's cockney - or mockney depending on who you ask - voice and Graham Coxon's always dazzling guitar work hold everything together beautifully, and despite Coxon's apparent dissatisfaction with it, this is truly an album to be proud of, the jewel in Blur's crown.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
After the commercial failure of Blur's Modern Life Is Rubbish, the Colchester foursome were quite literally on their 'last legs'. Their record company were close to cutting the band loose and the failure of the albums two big singles 'Into Tommorow' & 'Chemical World' had seriously dented Damon Albarn's confidence.
It was time for a re-invention of the Blur sound. Albarn and Coxon turned the band overnight into a Bowie/Kinks/Madness hybrid and hit gold. The resulting Parklife was a revelation and, alongside Oasis's What's The Story Morning Glory, literally invented Brit Pop. Lyrically and sonically this is still the finest long player Blur ever released and is without doubt one of THE records of the 90's.
'Girls & Boys' was a massive hit and cleverly mixed electronic beats with a knowing Bowiesque delivery, 'Parklife' was The Kinks on speed with a liitle help from Phil Daniels and 'To The End' a gorgeous understated ballad. Even the relatively minor hit 'End Of The Century' still sounds great with it's near poetic lyrics and winning 'Mockney' vocal.
Parklife scored big though because of it's consistency and, with songs as strong as 'Tracey Jacks', 'London Loves','This Is A Low' and the lovely 'Badhead', the album tracks were in every sense the equal of the singles. They even pulled a great punk song out of the bag with the manic thrash of 'Bank Holiday'.
With the band currently on hiatus there has never been a better time to revisted Parklife and to remember exactly what Albarn did before he became a rennasaince man, part of a cartoon band and a highbrow musical maverick. Let's hope he gets back to his day job soon.
Parklife hasn't dated in the slightest. If you don't already own it, shame on you ! Great iconic cover artwork too !

There is a reason why the recently reformed Blur played no less that 7 Parklife tracks in their set .....

cw
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
During a time when Oasis and Blur where rival's, it would be hard to say 'who was your band'. For me, Blur have always stood out among other Brit-pop and Indie groups for something quite unique. They're very clever guys!
Parklife may have well paved the path for the album 'The Great Escape' in that they both focus on the stereotypes of modern day England. Parklife captures this in an fun and energetic way, starting the album with the song everybody's heard, Girls and Boys! I remember it more from the psycadelic video (in typical early 90's fashion) but the lyrics ground under-age sex. The lead song of course, Parklife, is one of the highlights of the album. The lyrics are so simple, you'll wonder how it could become so catchy. Phil Collin's does a brilliantly funny job taking the lead vocal (now Kevin Wicks in Eastenders!) for this song, and add's the funny slant by his pronounciation of the words, and of course, another great video!
London Loves is one of the more mature songs of the album, which is nicely placed in the second half of the album, along with a couple of other fillers. One thing you wil notice, like The Great Escape, is that Blur liked to include short snappy tracks to link songs - Bank Holiday is an axample at just 1 minute 42 seconds, and of course, the rather fun Debt Collector, with its trumpet sound that you can just imagine a short, tubby man collecting money! And then of course, the final track Lot 105, is a jolly little number.
While this may not show the signs of your average mature brit-pop band, it demonstrates how fun it is when we look at our daily lives. Though I feel The Great Escape sounds a little fresher with more stand out tracks, this is deffinately the funnest outing from Blur. And if your fed up with Noel Gallagher's random lyrics (though some of his stuff is good) then this is for you.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2000
How does it get any better than this? From the bouncy opener, through shouty pop and rock (Parklife, Bank Holiday) to classic love songs (To The End) and finishing with their most beautiful track that can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck (This Is A Low), this album is sheer quality. If you don't already own it, consider yourself mocked. This one could change your life.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2001
From the pogo-bop pop of 'Girls & Boys', to the rich and beautiful 'This is a Low', via punk, rock, indie, and music hall, here are 16 tracks with genuine variety, originality, freshness and quality. There isn't a moment that bores, and every note is brilliantly crafted, and expertly delivered. Without doubt THE album of the decade. My personal album of all time.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2006
This is Blur's finest work and is Britpop at it's best in the days of Blur and Oasis. From the dancing raving Girls And Boys, Magical Magic America, to the classis Parklife this album will fullfill your music taste in many ways and leaving loving Blur once again.
London Loves, Trouble In The Message Centre, Clover Over Dover are all masterpieces which will make you just get up and dance around.
My favourite Blur Album this will be worth your money and will take you back to the mad lads that are Blur...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2001
until I listened to it the other day for the first time in years. I was startled by how many different musical styles and influences there are here - it's a very experimental album, and one that works brilliantly. It's the best Blur have done so far, and is one of the few albums that have stood the test of time - it really is as good as the critics said at the time - and it isn't often that albums said on the day of their release to be destined for classic status actually achieve it, but this is a CLASSIC.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2000
The critical backlash to this LP is somewhat unjustified but understandable in the pox-ridden fall out of the godforsaken media creation that was Britpop. Britpop was yet to really kick off when Parklife arrived in 1994, and I was bowled over by it. Mr Albarn himself critically slated the LP a while back...time for a reappraisal then, methinks.

Well, I still think it's a beauty. The title track is admittedly now somewhat irritating, while Clover Over Dover and Magic America are overly twee, but any LP that features End Of A Century, Badhead, To The End and This Is A Low can't be all bad. In fact, ...Century must rank as one of the greatest songs of the '90s, and soundtracked my millennium, for one.

Very much of its time, for sure, but despite what the critics say, this still stands up as a very fine LP, and will probably prove to be one of Britpop's most enduring legacies.
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