Blur’s new album is finally out! The Britpop heroes are back with 10 beautiful ballads.

Eight years after “The Magic Whip”, Damon Albarn and his fellow band members Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree finally released a long awaited ninth album, filled with nostalgia.

The “first legit Blur album” since 1993

Nostalgic but not resentful, mature but never dull, Blur’s ninth record, The Ballad of Darren, is surprisingly quiet.

Damon Albarn wrote most of its heartfelt songs during the 2022 Gorillaz tour and felt like none would fit its trip hop virtual band. Only Graham Coxon and the other Blur members would get it. They managed to record the album in a very tight schedule. Two weeks, later, The Narcissist was already out.

Albarn describes this work as the “first legit album” since 1993.

The album was named after Darren “Smoggy” Evans, the band’s loyal bodyguard. It evokes broken hearts, midlife, death and the temptation of chemicals. We’ve been playing this baby on repeat since yesterday and we have a crush on St Charles Square, Barbaric, The Heights and Goodbye Albert.

Why you should discover The Ballad of Darren

The band delivers here their most graceful work with 10 superbly crafted ballads. Those who wanna relive the golden age of Britpop might be a bit surprised : with the exception of two songs, the record sounds very much like a new Arctic Monkeys album. The fact that James Ford, who worked with the boys from Sheffield, produced this new opus is no coincidence.

Girl in pool with new Blur album
Haters will say the sky is photoshopped.

The critics are quite fond of this new album :

  • “They have a way of transporting you to a precise moment or emotion. It’s why ‘The Ballad of Darren’ is so memorable and touching: you can feel it, everything, in every line sung or note played.” (NME)
  • “Comparing it to a surprise baby, late-life Blur’s ninth album finds them on eloquent, emotional form, casting a wistful eye over past glories while pushing forward musically” (The Guardian)
  • “If such bittersweet reflections came packaged on a solo Albarn release, they’d probably be set to sorrowful, detached, acousto-electronic sounds. But his old friends have alchemised those sentiments into songs that elevate his suburban tristesse into moments of sheer ecstasy.” (The Independent).

What about you? What is your opinion on this new record? We’re all ears!

Psst! Want Cake? Check out the fruitilicious pie we made for Blur!

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