My favorite albums are the ones that have themes/messages/moods with which I can identify. On this album, Blur explores the despair and loneliness of the white collar scene, a group which appears happy and prosperous but suffers thru as much anxiety and unfulfillment as anyone else (albiet the nature of the suffering is different from worrying about paying the bills on time or whether or not there will be enough $$$ to put food on the table). This one definitely falls into that category, because I am a member of the white collar crowd, working a job that pays well and requires long hours but is ultimately unsatisfying. Even the production style plays a part in conveying this theme- the sound is very full and glossy but hides lyrics of sadness and lonliness. I wonder how Damon Albarn was able to capture this sentiment so accurately when I don't think he has ever had a real job;) Also, the playing is great as always, Graham Coxon is a terrific guitar player in particular. He always knows the appropriate note/riff/chord to play in order to achieve maximum emotion and drama. Anyway, I think music should inspire emotions in the listener, whether positive or negative, and this album definitely succeeds on that front.
Also, I admire Blur for being a band that is not afraid to explore new themes, try new styles, defy expectations, and take risks. They do all of these things on every album, and more often than not succeed in making very dramatic and satisfying art. This album falls into this classification. There are a few missteps but in general it is powerful stuff.