CNN WorldBeat Correspondent
LONDON (CNN) -- England's Blur, the band that
pioneered the loud-guitar, Brit-pop movement of the
mid-'90s, is back with a new sound and a new album
entitled "13." And it seems Blur's members have
consciously rejected their old style for a new musical
mix that includes gospel and acoustic influences.
The first single released from "13" is "Tender," an
eight-minute hymn to the importance of love, backed by a
full gospel choir. Band members say "Tender" and the
other tracks on "13" are infused with personal and
emotional influences -- many of them relating to the
breakup of singer Damon Albarn's relationship with
Elastica's Justine Frischmann.
The most striking aspect of "13"
may be its wide variety of
sounds and influences -- from
Beatles-type riffs to the gospel
choir, to the weird space-rock
sound of "Battle," and even an
acoustic ballad, "Mellow
Those who've followed the
band since its Brit-pop hit
single "Country House," know
that Blur began to reinvent it's
sound a few years ago. The
1997 release, "Album," took band members in a new
musical direction and won them recognition in the United
States with "Song 2."
"Song 2" became a sort of anthem in the U.S., played to
full stadiums during ice hockey games. At one point the
U.S. Army tried to buy the rights to the song--an offer
Blur members turned down.
Looking back on the band's success in the mid-'90s, its
members recall a heady time of drinks, parties and rock
'n' roll, as well as official recognition from the likes of
British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"It seemed like an average day at the time, to go and meet
Tony Blair and talk about what the youth of the country
wanted. It didn't occur to me at the time ... you realized
you probably won't have a day like that again."
Blur was originally called Seymour when the group
formed in London in 1989 with vocalist/keyboardist
Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, and bassist Alex James.
Drummer Dave Rowntree joined the band shortly