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  • 13
  • Customer reviews

on 25 June 2000
AT first, I thought tender was awful. What happened to "beetlebum", I asked? then, I borrowed the LP from my girlfriend and played it for bedtime. I didn't sleep that night. WOW! This sound, amazingly introducing the fifth album's sound with electronic music and several appliances, is notheing I ever hy aleard before. As I said, no one but Blur can make such noise sound so clear, so heartbreaking, so deep... It's the best album I heard for a few years, and definately my favourite... Till the next one comes. Buy it. NOW.
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on 24 February 2000
This album is certainly a change from the joyful humour of parklife and the great escape! I takes a while to get into it, but it is great! tender is a great start, and when u r getting too depressed it comes along with the bright cofee and TV. caramel is great, and so too is no distance left to run! Definately worth getting, this is a quality album, and shows blur's incredible music capabilities.
Love it!
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on 27 December 1999
When I bought this CD I thought that it was strange and I didn't want to listen to it because it wasn't what I had expected from Blur. But then I thought I would give it another try and it started to grow on me. I quite like it and I think any fan of the band should also give it a try because I think it's very unique, different from most of the other music you usually hear.
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on 5 July 2009
On the disappointing 13, we witness a radical change of direction (or maybe it's just the logical consequence of Blur?). Blur trades in Stephen Street for well-respected studio wizard William Orbit, records parts (or more) of the album in Iceland and deliver an album that's as easy to take as the smash of a bowling ball against your head. Now, I haven't got anything against wilfully difficult albums, against statements that defy the rules of the game and only aim at expressing direct and unpolished emotion, and Blur hàd reached a point where they basically could release anything. On the other hand, I can't be forced to like it. Not when there's no pay-off, not when you get so little in return. I understand it's THEIR statement and that the audience is also required to make an effort (isn't art about participation, anyway?), to think and - if the album allows it - to figure out an interpretation, but when, after repeated listenings, I don't feel any satisfaction whatsoever, I know there's something wrong. With me or with the album, or the connection between us. I'm usually not the first to toot my own horn (that's what I like to think, at least), but I think I can recognize a stinker when I encounter one and 13 comes close, dangerously close.

It is certainly a great candidate if it weren't for the few stand-out tracks (such as the first two singles, "Tender" and "Coffee & TV") that rescue it from a trip to the second hand store. I already hear you coming: "Look at silly Guy there, a man enough to take the singles, but he can't deal with the remainder of the album!" Well yeah, but if they wanted to surprise to listener, why not immediately release "D.U.L.L.E.M.I." or "Caramel" as singles? They probably knew the singles they did choose were the best songs. The album as a whole may have a huge personal significance for the band and most of their fans, but when I feel as if I've wasted my time, it's a failure in my book. "Tender" is pretty good, though. Long, but a successful experiment, it's some sort of gospel song (with the London Community Gospel Choir on backing vocals) that benefits from a nearly seductive and lazy rhythm and of course Coxon's endearing vocals ("Oh my baby, oh my baby") are a nice touch as well. Even better is Coxon's own "Coffee & TV," a track that used to remind me of Sonic Youth's "Sunday" for a few seconds, but soon settles in its own groove, boasts an excellent chorus and an extended fade-out that's wholly digestible. As for the remainder of the album, you could divide it into low-key ballads and ambient stuff on the one hand and stuff that's more of an abrasive nature on the other. "Abrasive," because during songs like "Bugman" and "B.L.U.R.E.M.I." all the meters seem to go in the red. A ragged guitar sound is not enough, no sir, they have to sound like the professional Black & Decker-series, and while the former song starts off quite well, it's the completely superfluous noise that ruins the pleasure. The same goes for "E.M.I.": after a few seconds you'll probably think it's quite OK, but repeated listens only made me wonder "What's the friggin' POINT?"

To be sure the audience realizes the band is pissed off and insists on total freedom, it also inserts layers of guitar noise in the calmer ambient songs. "1992," a song about being defeated, I presume ("You took the other one instead"), sounds like an inferior and noisier rehashing of Leisure's "Sing," while "Battle," which would've fitted nicely on the Requiem for a Dream-soundtrack, ends similarly in the wake of white noise. "E.M.I." and "Battle" are only the start of a frustratingly weak middle section. There's also "Caramel," a lengthy dirge quite close to post-rock, a genre that also gets its main appeal from subtle modifications and shifts and usually works towards one or more climaxes after which the tension usually disappears again, but here's it's just an uneventful drag that wallows in its own self-importance. Apart from those songs, there are also the tedious acoustic-song-goes-ambient of "Mellow Song" (with "Cos I lift my Street/I'm a guillotine" as an obvious reference to ditching Stephen Street as their long-time producer) and "Trailerpark," the result of the band's uninspired trip to Bristol. Like I said, there's some better stuff near the end of the album. Although it would have been a misfire on Blur, "Trimm Trabb" is nothing less than a masterpiece compared to the previous songs, a fairly simple and hypnotic track that hints at lazy dance but never takes the plunge. Third single and last memorable track is "No Distance Left to Run", a last rumination on a lost love (Justine Frischmann, I presume), and it's a nice one, nearly devoid of the self-indulgence that mars so many of the other tracks. So, there you have it, my heartless take on 13. Maybe I'm just wrong, maybe I just don't get it (because it seems so beloved by many people nowadays, especially by the band's hardcore fans), but it's a fact that this 66-minute statement doesn't sound particularly impressive to my ears. I just wish they'd used some more good ideas, instead of focusing on their worst ones and milking them so passionately.

Note: The nice cover painting was made by Coxon.
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on 4 March 2000
Unlike Oasis (although I hate the ubiquitous comparisons between Blur and Oasis because their frontmen differ very much in character and their music styles are very different) Blur have shown that Britpop is a form of culture still capable of growth, unlimited growth. Bugman is a bit grungey but sounds still British. I hate the souley Tender very much, and that's the only reason why I gave the album only 4 stars. Tracks like 1992, Mellow Song etc are very emotional stuff and Damon really gets into it. Coffee & TV is (along Tender) another 'outstanding' track. Very conventional. Battle is something of a piece of classical music, in the broad sense. A real symphony, though tiring at times. 13 is a real combination of styles and it shows that Blur are still very much and very well alive. Go on forth!
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on 18 March 2001
I bought this album on the strength of previous Blur albums and the singles 'Tender' and 'Coffee and TV'. When I heard the album I was suprised, but pleasantly suprised. The album is experimental, almost reminiscent of Radiohead's 'OK computer' and 'Kid A'. Blur could of gone so very wrong in this, and ended up with a mess that no-one would listen to, but the result is instead a brilliant album that varies between the excellent, pleasantly uplifting 'Coffee and TV' the possible highlight of the album, and the brilliantly sad and moving '1992' and 'No distance....'. The only thing which makes it very good, not very, very good, is that it is slightly repetitive towards the end, although it picks up at the very end. Overall, an excellent progression.
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on 15 November 2001
I've never really understood reviews for Blur's post Great Escape work. For the most part, the critics seem to describe good things in a negative way. It's as if they can see Blur and 13 are very good records, but resent Blur for creating Brit-pop, and don't like the fact that they no longer fit the Brit-pop mould. This is a shame because 13 is a wonderful piece of work.
Like most more experimental work, 13 takes perseverance but is well worth it in the end. 1992 is a lovely piece of music, which starts off sounding like Coldplay on speed and builds slowly to a climax where you can just hear the gentle accoustic keeping the track together. BLUREMI is song 2 with even more distortion on both guitar and vocals. Battle is an epic track, too long to describe. Mellow Song is just that, a calm after the storm of battle which builds in a similar way to 1992. Trailerpark and Caramel are just wierd, but grew on me no end. No Distance... is heartbreaking, and a great piece of music to boot. But the greatest track Blur have ever written is Tribb Trabb, I can't praise it enough. A beautiful, downbeat guitar track with everything from distorted mutterings to gentle piano notes from some impressionist piece, and what sounds like a chainsaw (not that it's cluttered).
Well, incase you're wondering what I think, Blur are a far better band than they have ever been. Four stars is because Bugman is a mess, and Tender drags on a bit long. Still, a wonderful record.
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on 9 February 2000
The decision to use flash producer William Orbit for this, Blur's sixth album enjoys mixed results in an album which isn't as good, or as bad as many people will tell you. Fantastic pop and rock tracks like 'Tender', 'Swamp Song', and 'Trailerpark' all seem far too processed here - Dave Rowntree's excellent percussion sounding almost anaemic at times - completely stripping these great tracks of all of their impact, something which is much more in evidence when these songs are played live, sans the plasticated 'talents' of Mr Orbit (silly name + silly noises = genius producer?) However, despite all this, tracks such as '1992', 'Trimm Trabb', and 'Mellow Song' are so good as to be almost worth buying the album for alone, and it's true that if you make a concerted effort to get to know the rest of them the underlying quality of the songs does eventually shine through. Inferior to all of their previous albums (with the possible exception of 'The Great Escape') and overall, proof that when it comes to music (Blurmusic at least) natural is most definitely better.
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on 12 February 2000
This album is one of the best I've never heard. It's so different from the others, and that's why some people hate it. I think that Blur has really grown up, compared to their first albums. Some of 13's tracks are really genious, like Trimm trabb, Bugman, Optigan 1. It's an album from outer space!
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on 21 February 2000
Blur have shown that unlike Oasis they have evolved & can rock with the best. Bugman is a rival to any american grunge and lighter tracks like Coffee & T.V. are sheer blissful pop at it's best.
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