Rarities #27: Blur 13 (1999)
Also one of the rare finds I managed to unearth at Real Groovy, I have been looking for this package for many years now. I have previously encountered it a few times, but the condition of the package wasn't too good so I gave it a pass.
Anyway, I'm not that big a Blur fan but I like quite a few of their songs. I remember the whole Oasis vs Blur debacle back in 1996, when both bands released singles at the same time. Blur's Country House trumped Oasis' Some Might Say, but Oasis won the war in the long run.
13 is the album after that whole episode and perhaps in their effort to distinguish themselves from Oasis (both were Brit bands that emerged on the scene at about the same time), Blur changed their musical style and surprised many with their first single Tender.
Instead of a guitar-heavy, straightforward rock song, Tender was like a ballad that was slow-moving and with a sing-a-long chant as the chorus. It signalled Blur's new direction, away from the Britpop sound that they were so famous for.
Second single was Coffee & TV and I remember the music video for its milk carton character. Nice song, nice video. The third single taken off the album was No Distance Left To Run.
The 13 album paved the way for their future musical direction, as they moved towards more abstract and less melodic tunes. It can be evidenced by their subsequent releases like Music Is My Radar, from their Best Of CD, Out Of Time and most of the songs off Think Tank.
Blur have been on hiatus and it seems unlikely that they will be reforming anytime soon. But with reunion tours being all the rage now, don't count Blur out. They might just pop another surprise.