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Midlife
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Phil Daniels (vocals); James Dring (programming).
  • Photographers: Khalil Al-Ani; Alberto Arzoz; Adrian Dennis; Ian McKinnell; Stephen Ferry; Oli Scarff; Mark Wilson IV; Stuart Yates; John Foxx; Scott Olson.
  • Arranger: Desyud Mustafa.
  • Released in conjunction with their 2009 reunion, the double-disc career retrospective MIDLIFE emphasizes Blur's early psychedelic grind--halfway between Syd Barrett and shoegazing--along with their post-Brit-pop indie makeover, giving somewhat short shrift to the band's pop prime, cutting out four of the band's big hits ("There's No Other Way," "Country House," "End of the Century," and "Charmless Man") in favor of album tracks that play into the thesis that Blur were as somber and serious a guitar band as Radiohead. Of course, Blur did rival Radiohead, recording some of the greatest guitar rock of the '90s, but that was only one facet of the band: they were also a bright, artful pop band, cleverly twisting '60s traditions and post-punk styles into the present. Elements of this Blur are evident in "Girls & Boys" and "Parklife," hits so big they couldn't be ignored, and while MIDLIFE could have used a heavier dose of this side of Blur, there's not a bad track here, and the set also brings their glorious, epoch-creating single "Popscene" back into circulation.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.84) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Blur went from wanna-be's to provocateurs to artistes to world travelers...[and] remained fascinating with each mood change."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.79) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "'Advert,' 'Stereotypes,' 'Badhead' -- all wildly different, all in their own ways shining a light on the British condition easily the equal to Ray Davies' work with The Kinks."

Uncut (magazine) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] flawless take on Blur's 20-year career, MIDLIFE charts the rich, often sad music being made behind the jaunty character sketches."
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