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A Britpop classic if ever there was one. Quirky and inventive all the way through it sustains its quality over a mammoth 16 tracks.

The opening track, 'Girls & Boys', is really a blueprint for the album, with its off-centre musical and lyrical touches. It is one of the Blur classics, with its maniacal, drunken, repetitive rhythm and Albarn's machine gun delivery.

'Tracy Jacks' is a very catchy song, and is a decent nod at The Kinks 'Lola'. 'End Of A Century' has some nice brass (and flugelhorn!), and is also catchy.

'Parklife' is the epitome of a Britpop song, perfectly delivered by the greatest British actor of his generation, Phil Daniels, with lyrical content of a quintessential Englishness. Not even the best track on this album, it nevertheless has an infectious quality.

'Bank Holiday' is a raucous number, but apart from Graham Coxon's guitar doesn't quite work. 'Badhead' is gorgeous. Damon Albarn puts over a ballad as well as any of his peers, and the maturity of the group is well displayed in this track. The inventive musical tricks displayed here, also feature on the strange but appealing instrumental 'The Debt Collector'. Stranger still is 'Far Out', with a vocal by Alex James. Patrick Moore watch out. Nice.

'To The End' is another moving ballad, with a skilful arrangement incorporating fairground music and, er, a chanteuse.

'Clover Over Dover' has a good rolling rhythm, with some intriguing lyrics. 'Magic America' has some quirktastic keyboard touches, and is catchy enough without being one of the best tracks on the album. 'Jubilee' is a bouncy, fun-filled track with amusing lyrics.

'This Is A Low' is the album's highlight, with the most eccentric of lyrics featuring places made famous via the shipping forecast. An outstanding guitar solo by Coxon, and fabulous music all through, amidst a heartfelt delivery by Albarn.

The final track, 'Lot 105', could have come straight out of 'The Italian Job'. A rather head-scratching end to an album that entertains and bemuses, and, indeed, amuses. It is hard to believe that, after a promising start in the late '80s/early '90s, Blur were way down the rock hierarchy pecking order come early 1994, but this gem saw one of the greatest rebirths in the history of British rock.

- Paul Rance/

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Midlife: A Beginner's Guide To Blur ~ Blur
Midlife: A Beginner's Guide To Blur
~ Blur

Blur Classic Albums - Reviews

The Beatles - Abbey Road
The Beatles - Revolver
The Beatles - Rubber Soul
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles - The Beatles/The White Album

Blur - Parklife

David Bowie - Aladdin Sane
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
David Bowie - Outside
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
Kate Bush - Hounds Of Love

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
The Doors - The Doors
Green Day - American Idiot
Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
Maroon5 - Songs About Jane
The Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

PIL/Public Image Ltd. - Flowers Of Romance
Pink Floyd - The Dark Side Of The Moon
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Queen - A Night At The Opera

Stereophonics - Performance And Cocktails
10cc - How Dare You
Travis - The Man Who
The Verve - Urban Hymns 1990s to Contemporary Music Index

'Parklife' Track Listing
(All tracks written by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree)

Girls & Boys
Tracy Jacks
End Of A Century
Bank Holiday
The Debt Collector
Far Out
To The End
London Loves
Trouble In The Message Centre
Clover Over Dover
Magic America
This Is A Low
Lot 105

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