- Blur: Damon Albarn (vocals, keyboards); Graham Coxon (guitar); Alex James (bass); Dave Rowntree (drums).
- Additional personnel includes: Jason Cox (drums); The London Community Gospel Choir.
- Engineers: John Smith, Jason Cox, William Orbit.
- Personnel: Damon Albarn (vocals); Graham Coxon (guitar); Dave Rowntree (drums).
- Audio Mixer: William Orbit.
- Recording information: 06/1998-10/1998.
- 13 marks Blur hitting the 10-year mark as a band. During their first decade, the band went from being lumped in with Manchester bands such as Happy Mondays to becoming Brit-pop foils to Oasis. Their self-titled 1997 release found them inhabiting the same lo-fi neighborhood as American indie rockers like Pavement. On 13, the London based quartet joins forces with techno-pop producer William Orbit on a record whose inclusiveness manages to find room for both the gorgeous, choir-adorned "Tender" and "B.L.U.R.E.M.I.," a song that sounds like the illegitimate offspring of Wire, Devo, and Rick Dees.
- Blur's work with Orbit finds them plunging deep into a lake of space-rock overflowing with wondrous sounds such as the pinging, Floyd-like tinkling, and hypnotic rhythms of "Battle," and the sputtering transmissions and bristling distortion permeating "Bugman." In straddling the dissolving lines between genres in the late '90s, Blur manages to trod the same ground as Underworld on "Trailerpark" and subscribes to the aforementioned jittery, lo-fi aesthetics on "Trimm Trabb." Despite all this experimentation, Blur still sneaks in perfect pop nuggets such as "Coffee & TV," where cheery harmonies share space with a squealing guitar.
Rolling Stone (4/1/99, p.96) - 3 1/2 Stars (out of 5) - "...their sloppiest, most playful set yet, spiking the mix with church organ, electric piano and shambling drum loops. It's the kind of album you can't wait to play for your guitar-geek pals..."
Spin (5/99, pp.145-146) - 8 (out of 10) - "...This is electronica the old-fashioned, pre-digital, Krautrock way: Guitars scrape and scream, ancient synths bubble and belch, the rhythm section grooves as if beaming in from a distant planet....13...applies dance music's aural fixation to dirty guitar drones, warping and layering crudeness until it's vastly complicated..."
Entertainment Weekly (3/26/99, pp.82-83) - "...undeniably powerful in its own way." Rating B+"
Q (1/00, p.83) - Included in Q Magazine's "50 Best Albums of 1999."
Q (4/99, pp.92-93) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...a dense, fascinating, idiosyncratic and accomplished rock album.."
CMJ (3/22/99, p.3) - "...hazy experimental songs...painfully honest, introspective lyrics....13 is not the type of album that can be fully appreciated in one listen, but if you look beyond its imposing wall of sound, the view is quite beautiful."
Mojo (Publisher) (1/00, p.31) - Ranked #22 in Mojo Magazine's "Best of 1999."
Mojo (Publisher) (4/99, pp.88-90) - "...repeated playing...reveals an eerie, kaleidoscopic world of haunting, melodies and dazzling sonic detail... [Blur is] an experimental art-rock act, melding US noise with Euro noir electronica; but thankfully, an instinct for great pop still survives..."