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5.0 out of 5 stars Blur go into Special Edition Orbit
After they'd shed their Britpop image with their self-titled album, Blur felt free to do whatever they wanted with their musical abilities. During this time Damon Albarn broke up with longtime girlfriend Justine Frischmann. Inspired by heartbreak, Blur went into the studio and made 13. In my opinion, this album is light years ahead of anything they had done or will ever...
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by Matt Poole

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3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Tender of An Album
They're the group of blokes from Britain that brought out their erie pop brit rock sounds to life with tracks like "Parklife" "Boys & Girls" "Beetlebum" and the classic "Song 2." And what was it that made albums like Parklife, Blur, and the recent Think Tank to life? It's melody. Infectious melodies is what keeps Blur's music...
Published on Nov. 11 2003 by Amazon Customer


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4.0 out of 5 stars A Long and Winding Road, June 14 2004
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
Length of Play - 67:07
After being coddled and caressed by the equisite opener, Tender (has a beat similar to John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance"), one would think that "13" would be chock-full of relaxing, mellow, joyous music. That description; however, couldn't be more inaccurate. The bulk of this album is comprised of long, dreary, abrasive, dirge-like numbers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but at times the downtrodden dissonance is just too much. "Battle" and "Caramel", for instance, are two seemingly endless tracks that carry off into oblivion. On the other hand, downers like "1992", a thrashing ballad that breaks into a Radioheadlike electronic explosion, "Trailerpark", a spooky, noir-sounding tune (think "I'm Just a Killer for your Love"), and "Bugman", a vicious, rocking stomp of a song, are beautifully bleak and stand out as excellent tracks. The highest points of the album though, in my opinion, are found outside of the aforementioned tracks of madness. "Coffee and TV", with its cool, swaggering pace, the morosely delightful "Mellow Song", and the helpless, breathtaking "No Distance Left to Run" are absolutely indispensable tracks. Also, for anyone who enjoys the strange-sounding coda, Optigan 1, check out the album "Spotlight on..." by Optiginally Yours. At times listening to this record can be quite harrowing, but all in all, it is definitely worthwhile music and a must have for Blur fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blur go into Special Edition Orbit, Feb. 1 2004
By 
Matt Poole (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 13 (Ltd Ed) (Enhanced) (Audio CD)
After they'd shed their Britpop image with their self-titled album, Blur felt free to do whatever they wanted with their musical abilities. During this time Damon Albarn broke up with longtime girlfriend Justine Frischmann. Inspired by heartbreak, Blur went into the studio and made 13. In my opinion, this album is light years ahead of anything they had done or will ever do (judging by the dissapointing Think Tank)
It's a difficult first listen, particularly the second half of the disc, but give it your full attention a couple of times with headphones and you'll get into it.
13 contains a variety of styles, just like most other Blur albums. You get gospel on Tender, lo-fi on Bugman, Britpop on Coffee & TV, glam rock with Swamp Song, gloomy krautrock on 1992, punk on BLUREMI, trip hop on Trailerpark and even some sort of silent movie music on Optigan 1.
One song worthy of mention is Battle. Blur take all of Radiohead's Bends and OK Computer production "cliches" and turn them inside out then sling them into outer space. A seven minute track with a trippy beat, a mathmatical sounding keyboard, blaring distortion and mellow vocals. Sounds like it wouldn't work in theory, but it does. And how!
William Orbit produced this, and has done a good job of it. Each of the songs is thick with texture, emotion, experimentation and guitars. Damon sings with his heart on his sleeve, sleep in his eyes and a lump in his throat. Songs like "No Distance Left to Run" are heartbreaking to listen to, and the screaming vocals at the end of "Trimm Trabb" are Damon's angriest to date.
Graham's guitar is the best ever. It's genius. He does conventional, he does wacky, he does angry, he does spooky, he does mellow, he does intimate, he does shaky. It's all on here.
There are cool studio jams tacked onto the end of songs. There is white noise, brown noise, subliminal voices telling you to go to sleep, distortion, computer beeps and clicks, guitars that wail and gurgle like alien beasts, car engines firing up, Japanese crowds calling Blurs name, duck voiced aliens singing choruses. I could go on and on and on. Lots of weird sonic stuff here. There is so much stuff on this album that everytime I listen to it I hear something new, and I have listened to it a lot! With all the detail you will never get sick of the songs.
Not recommended for new Blur fans. This is unusual stuff, and Blur haven't quite done an album like it. If you like music by Radiohead, Yes, early King Crimson or Can, you should love this.
Easily 5 stars!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blur go into Orbit, Jan. 4 2004
By 
Matt Poole (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
After they'd shed their Britpop image with their self-titled album, Blur felt free to do whatever they wanted with their musical abilities. During this time Damon Albarn broke up with longtime girlfriend Justine Frischmann. Inspired by heartbreak, Blur went into the studio and made 13. In my opinion, this album is light years ahead of anything they had done or will ever do (judging by the dissapointing Think Tank)
It's a difficult first listen, particularly the second half of the disc, but give it your full attention a couple of times with headphones and you'll get into it.
13 contains a variety of styles, just like most other Blur albums. You get gospel on Tender, lo-fi on Bugman, Britpop on Coffee & TV, glam rock with Swamp Song, gloomy krautrock on 1992, punk on BLUREMI, trip hop on Trailerpark and even some sort of silent movie music on Optigan 1.
One song worthy of mention is Battle. Blur take all of Radiohead's Bends and OK Computer production "cliches" and turn them inside out then sling them into outer space. A seven minute track with a trippy beat, a mathmatical sounding keyboard, blaring distortion and mellow vocals. Sounds like it wouldn't work in theory, but it does. And how!
William Orbit produced this, and has done a good job of it. Each of the songs is thick with texture, emotion, experimentation and guitars. Damon sings with his heart on his sleeve, sleep in his eyes and a lump in his throat. Songs like "No Distance Left to Run" are heartbreaking to listen to, and the screaming vocals at the end of "Trimm Trabb" are Damon's angriest to date.
Graham's guitar is the best ever. It's genius. He does conventional, he does wacky, he does angry, he does spooky, he does mellow, he does intimate, he does shaky. It's all on here.
There are cool studio jams tacked onto the end of songs. There is white noise, brown noise, subliminal voices telling you to go to sleep, distortion, computer beeps and clicks, guitars that wail and gurgle like alien beasts, car engines firing up, Japanese crowds calling Blurs name, duck voiced aliens singing choruses. I could go on and on and on. Lots of weird sonic stuff here. There is so much stuff on this album that everytime I listen to it I hear something new, and I have listened to it a lot! With all the detail you will never get sick of the songs.
Not recommended for new Blur fans. This is unusual stuff, and Blur haven't quite done an album like it. If you like music by Radiohead, Yes, early King Crimson or Can, you should love this.
Easily 5 stars!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Come on, come on, get through it., Dec 9 2003
By 
Xiao "Xiao" (West of the tracks) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
Blur's sixth album, 13, is a mess. Aimless, often tuneless, and sprawling at nearly 70 minutes, with random bursts of white noise and songs that fizzle out and then return again so often it's hard to know what track you're listening to, this is not an album in the mould of anything Blur had done previously. Although I doubt Blur will ever top PARKLIFE, they should be admired for refusing to dwell in the past. 13 is undeniably adventurous, and contains some of the most powerful and distinctive pop songs of the past decade.
Unfortunately, those best songs are not the ones where Blur stretches themselves the most. The truly experimental tracks on 13, forming well over half the record, add up to little more than tiresome listening. As proven by both this album and the more recent THINK TANK, Blur lacks the ability of, say, Radiohead to seamlessly combine melody and dissonance within the space of a single song. Instead, 13 alternates between transcendent highs (the singles and a couple of other tracks), and then a whole slate of interesting but unconvincing efforts at ambient and noise-punk songs, with just a hint of electronics from producer William Orbit. On these more uncommercial songs, the band never really rises above its influences, and the music never gels as distinctively Blur. In fact, it can take nearly 10 listens before you even remember which song is which. Their previous self-titled album, released in 1997, already covered a lot of this territory, with significantly more success.
If it weren't for the more poppy, structured moments on 13, then there would be little to get excited about. Album tracks like "Swamp Song," "Caramel," "Battle," "Mellow Song," and "Trimm Trabb" are nice enough, but they lack momentum and fail to really engage the listener. Other songs like "1992," "B.L.U.R.E.M.I," "Trailerpark," and "Optigan 1" really scrape the bottom of the barrel: whiny drones, obnoxious electro-punk, atonal trip-hop, and a throwaway ambient instrumental, respectively. Blur has never written a filler-less album, but here the filler is present in frighteningly large quantities, and it's more pretentious than usual, occasionally veering on unlistenable.
Even so, whenever I'm halfway through one of these interminable amateur mood pieces and I start to feel like hating 13, all I can think of is the brilliance of the album's best songs: the epic album-opening anthem "Tender," an insanely catchy gospel hymn which may be Blur's best moment yet; the distorted glam-grunge fury of "Bugman," their most convincing hard rocker; the dreamy, sympathetic punk of "Coffee and TV," another real classic; and the relaxed lo-fi soul ballad "No Distance Left to Run," a wonderful album closer.
On 13 Blur prove they can still write intelligent, melodic, edgy rock singles as well as any band ever. But they simply aren't very good at all this post-rock stuff. You could skip 13 and get their greatest hits set, which has three out of the four great songs from here. But in a way, despite 13's aggravating unevenness, its filler tracks somehow manage to accentuate the strength of the better material (as on Nirvana's IN UTERO), and this album demands to be heard in one sitting. Even 13's singles are less commercial than Blur's previous hits, meaning they might not play well out of context. Would you enjoy "No Distance Left to Run" sandwiched in between two other singles on THE BEST OF BLUR? Sure. But I think you'd enjoy it more as the comforting acoustic epilogue to all the romantic and sonic anguish of the previous 11 tracks on 13. It depends what you want out of an album-- mere good tunes, or an experience. Either way, Blur is at the top of their game on 13's best tracks, and you've got to hear them somehow.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Too Tender of An Album, Nov. 11 2003
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
They're the group of blokes from Britain that brought out their erie pop brit rock sounds to life with tracks like "Parklife" "Boys & Girls" "Beetlebum" and the classic "Song 2." And what was it that made albums like Parklife, Blur, and the recent Think Tank to life? It's melody. Infectious melodies is what keeps Blur's music alive and thriving. In Blur's 13 they seem to leave out their most important ingredient; melody. They use up all their melody on one great song and leave nothing to spare on the rest of the album. The opening track "Tender" steels all the glory of 13's possibilities and rallys on with a heart wrenching gospel tune of break-up. But once you get the idea of break-up in your head you only have a couple more songs til they bring the same topic back, then back again. Singer/songwriter Damon Albarn seems to have overdone the album with his mopey heart break. The album does have some high points though. The radical fuzz guitar of "Bugman" reminds you of how wonderfully inovative lead guitarist Graham Coxen is. The space rock of "Battle" throws out harmonies that feel like shooting stars. But then "Trailerpark" sounds like a song that never made it onto Beck's Odelay. The album would ride a lot smoother if they hadn't put hidden tracks at the end of half of their songs that seem to disesmble the flow of the album. 7/10 Highlights: "Tender" "Trimm Trabb" "Mellow Song" "Battle" "Coffee & TV"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Space Is The Place..., Aug. 7 2003
By 
funktion (The Synaptic Gap) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
Where their self-titled 1997 release found them inhabiting a more lo-fi neighborhood, on 13, Blur joins forces with genius producer William Orbit on a record whose inclusiveness manages to find room for both, breathtakingly gorgeous works such as "Tender" and "No Distance Left To Run", and raucous, impudent ones such as "B.L.U.R.E.M.I" and "Swamp Song", while still being amazingly cohesive and consistent.
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 contemporary electro acts 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. All in all, a daringly original and accomplished work...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, Feb. 25 2003
By 
Michael Kluge (San Jose, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
It seemed around this time most bands were falling apart in one way or another, and in the process were making some effing brilliant records. Radiohead had their classic OK Computer, REM had their maligned but darkly wonderful Up, Smashing Pumpkins had their surprisingly good Adore. All these albums seemed to benefit enormously from the darkness surrounding them (Thom Yorke's difficulties with rock stardom, REM and Smashing Pumpkins losing their drummer, Billy Corgan losing his mother), and 13 is no exception.
Though the inspiration for this album seems much less tragic (Damon Albarn's breakup with his girlfriend from Elastica), the music conjured up is no less amazing. 13 really was (and is) something new in the world of banal stereotypical music. It turns almost every rock cliche on its head, with "Tender" stretching the tried-and-true gospel choir into an almost eight-minute long epic, "Bugman's" fuzzed-out guitar a straight answer to grunge and shoegazing, "Swamp Song" a brilliant cop-out of 70's rock, Iggy Pop and his ilk.
But the second half of the album is where the band really streches their wings. Britpop is all but left behind on the terrific "Battle," where thundering drums are surrounded by squalls of guitar noise and Albarn's vocals are almost indecipherable. "Mellow Song" is more a reconciliation with their past, with a gentle wistful melody breaking into an almost trip-hop beat and warped guitars at the end. "Trailerpark" is even farther out, almost mantra-esque. "Caramel" is superb, the sound of crawling on one's hands and knees in search of a lost love. The long instrumental breakdown is incredible, with Graham Coxon's axe virtually shedding fire. It all comes to a close with "Trimm Trabb," with its delightful soft-loud dynamics, and "No Distance Left to Run," which lays Albarn's heart bare in the most spellbinding way.
this was my first Blur CD, and so far I think it's their best. Who would've thought that such a band would have grown out of their musical shell so well. Oasis had and will never have anything on them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 13 twists, bends, warps, and is just plain stunning, Feb. 18 2003
By 
J. GARRATT - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
With each subsequent album, Blur was getting more and more weird. Parklife found Blur's quirky sound in perfect balance with Damon Albarn's confused-boy-meets-world vocal performance. With The Great Escape, Blur turned up the cynicism knobs. 1997's eponymous album found them mining dirty American sounds and translating them to their British sound with a production that excited the most avant-garde friendly listener or gagged the casual single listener. And with 13, the latest of Blur's albums, the sound has hit the wall and completely splattered.
And the man who helps make that splatter all the more fantastic was William Orbit. Sitting in the producer's chair for Madonna's Ray of Light helped her create an album that would challenge her audience rather than just dish out more singles. Orbit does the same thing with Blur. I am not exaggerating when I say that 13 has got to be one of the most challenging albums out there, but the reward is worth the patience.
Tender starts the album. Gospel meets Britpop! What a weird thing to do. But hey, this is a combination that got stuck in people's heads when it was released as a single, and it will find a place in your cranium too. "Tender is my heart/For screwing up my life" Albarn sings of his highly-publicized breakup before he gives us the opposite "Love's the greatest thing/That we have/I'm waiting for that feeling to come." So from the beginning, you know that 13 is going to be a great, unusual album.
Bugman is a downright killer song, but it sounds like complete sludge when you first hear it. Dirty guitars, dirty bass, backwards cymbals, reeling keyboard noises, sections where the rhythm section fades in then out combined with the lyrics "I am the extra finger/They let me out in the summer" make this a strange song. But it is a delight for me to hear every time because it's just so new and adventurous.
Coffee & TV is a good choice for a single and a challenging one as well. Graham Coxon takes the lead vocals duties and you can't quite understand him all of the time. The chord interplay is just downright wacky, because it shouldn't work in theory. But in practice, it does. And this helps make Coffee & TV one of Blur's career highs.
It's not hard to hear why Trailerpark was turned down for the South Park movie. I'd be the first to admit that it's very weird and strange. But 13 just wouldn't be the same album without that one song that stretches itself SO FAR that it almost breaks.
Swamp Song and BLUREMI are rowdy, messy, and lots of fun. But for me the biggest impact comes from Caramel and Trimm Trabb. These two songs take a simple musical idea, say a predictable chord pattern with some notes in passing, and extorts them on a level that has not been reached in pop music. It's not brainwashing, and it's not repetition. But whatever it is, I think it's really exciting. Not many other songs work like these two.
No Distance Left To Run, 13's final single, is the most aching, honest, sad, the-truth-hurts moment from Blur. Albarn's breakup with Justine Frischmann of Elastica is the source of this tune that almost seems to be the sound of a heart splitting in two. I actually read somewhere that Albarn broke down and cried in the studio while doing the vocal tracks on this song. It's not hard to understand why when you hear it. Coxon's loopy guitar, for once, sounds romantically sorrowful.
13 is not Parklife. 13 is a beast. There are many treasures hidden within if you are willing to dive very deep for them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vast improvement over "Blur", Dec 10 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
Of their two post-Britpop albums, their self-titled fifth album is looked upon as a near-classic, while this one is seen as a step too far. From this chair, I can't see why. I personally find "Blur" too disjointed with too many weak spots (although I'll qualify that- it is Blur, which of course makes it awesome anyway). This album, however, goes all out with a personal honesty previously unseen in their work. In fact, I think it was this album that really rendered the whole Blur-Oasis pissing contest useless, since Blur was clearly the superior band. I think the problem a lot of people have is that it takes about 15-20 listens to really see beyond the production, but it's a beautiful sight once you do.
"Tender"- One of their most successful singles, and rightfully so. The gospel feel shows how well they can diversify.
"Bugman"- Fuzz-rock that hears them rocking out and lets Graham finally get the recognition as one of the great guitarists of the '90s.
"Coffee and TV"- The easy pop song of the album, but saved by the organ solo at the end.
"Swamp Song"- Stupid, really the only weak spot on the album.
"1992"- The first true breakup song on the album. Graham's freakout guitar solo at the end is classic.
"BLUREMI"- Damon singing through a vocorder about the record industry (odd given the generally good relationship the band and label have). Decent but nothing to write home about.
"Battle"- Space-rock that would not have sounded out of place in the late 1960s or early 1970s, before prog-rock got too weighty for its own good.
"Mellow Song"- Decent, not good or bad.
"Trailerpark"- The song that most sharply divides opinions on this album, sounding closer to Trip-Hop than anything else they've done. I personally love it.
"Caramel"- A song which shows Damon in pure depressed mode, another of his most honest works. Good.
"Trimm Trabb"- They were able to make "That's just the way it is" into a profound statement, and the musicianship is impeccable. Maybe the best on the album.
"No Distance Left To Run"- The single about the breakup. Graham's guitar work, as always, accentuates the sad mood.
"Optigan 1"- A decent, if forgettable instrumental.
While there are undoubtedly highlights with individual songs, this is best listened to when you can absorb the album as a whole, and you will not be disappointed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, the non-Best Of tracks are bad, Nov. 9 2002
By 
alexliamw (New Haven, CT) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 13 : Blur (Audio CD)
Previously owning both Parklife and Best of Blur, I decided to buy 13 as I love the tracks from it on Best of Blur ('Tender', 'No Distance Left To Run', 'Coffee and TV') and everyone saids it was a great experimental effort. It isn't. All the other songs sound like Blur are trying to experiment and just come out sounding pretentious and trying too hard to be something they're not.
I don't like the album tracks on Parklife much either; they seem very immature and annoying. They should have made an album full of mature but not pretentious tracks like This Is A Low, Tender, The Universal...etc. The Best of is actually really good, its just their album tracks which don't hold up.
'Bugman' and 'Swamp Song' are both ultimately poor, the former steeped in an annoying guitar fuzz trying to disguise a lack of craftsmanship. Albarn is clearly arrogant and doesn't realise how bad these knock-it-all-together tracks sound. B.L.U.R.E.M.I is equally poor, a terrible stab at punk.
Out of the non-Best of tracks, only '1992' is passable. Highly disappointing; 2 stars, and would have been 1 had it not been for the Best of tracks.
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