Modern Life Is Rubbish review by Blur

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  • Released: May 10, 1993
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.4 (25 votes)
Blur: Modern Life Is Rubbish

Sound — 10
Modern Life Is Rubbish is Blur's second album and the band members have since gone on to say they regard it as their first 'proper album'. After the light, substanceless pop that made Leisure, Blur took 1992 and 1993 to re-assess their music. Gone is the baggy-sound of Leisure, and they have created their own sound on MLIR, influenced by great British bands like The Kinks, and a sound that would help start the Britpop phenomenon. Graham's guitars have a lot more substance than Leisure, despite his playing being good on Leisure, he shows a good mixture of both lead and rhythm playing on MLIR, using both acoustic and electric guitars, and various effects such as a watery effect on Oily Water, and a slide guitar effect on the solo of Sunday Sunday. Alex and Dave prove they are competent on bass and drums respectively, and it's the first album where Damon started widely using his organ.

Lyrics — 10
Damon Albarn has left behind his 'vacant' approach to lyrics and singing that he had in Leisure, and has come back with not only a lot MORE lyrics, but harder singing tone, a lot more anger in his voice and lyrics that he didn't have in Leisure. His Cockney accent is starting to appear more in this album, which he masked slightly in Leisure. A lot of the songs feature Damon almost talking quickly. This time Albarn is actually singing about the country, or other countries (Chemical World) and has adopted the 'commentary' like lyrics that made him famous on Parklife and Great Escape. This is due to Blur's 1992 tour of America and their dissatisfaction with it, Graham Coxon even said before the album was released that it was 'more of a head sort of album than a heart sort of album'. The lyrics overall have Albarn wallowing in confidence and range from a London love story (For Tomorrow), to his character-based dramatic indie-pop songs (Colin Zeal) and has angry commentaries (Advert).

Overall Impression — 10
Well this is the albun that almost officially started Britpop in 1993. Modern Life Is Rubbish is a beautifully observed album and a dramatic improvement on Blur's debut album, and a taster of what would come on Parklife (1994), but where Parklife was grandiose in its production terms and the songs were very cabaret-like, MLIR is a pure thriving indie-rock album, that often verges on being a punk album (especially if you'd seen Blur's live performances in 1993). The only bad song on the album is the song 'Turn It Up'. Blur still play MLIR songs in their set list to this day (For Tomorrow, Blue Jeans, Advert, Coping, Chemical World), and played virtually the whole album until Coxon left in 2002. Graham Coxon has since gone on to say that the only Blur albums he is proud of is 1997's 'Blur' and Modern Life Is Rubbish, so listen to the Coxon and check it out!

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Modern Life Is Rubbish... absolutely brilliant! My personal favorite Blur CD.
    Great album! How did you conclude that chemical world is about another country?