The Great Escape

The Great Escape

by Blur


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In the simplest terms, The Great Escape is the flip side of Parklife. Where Blur's breakthrough album was a celebration of the working class, drawing on British pop from the '60s and reaching through the '80s, The Great Escape concentrates on the suburbs, featuring a cast of characters all trying to cope with the numbing pressures of modern life. Consequently, it's darker than Parklife, even if the melancholia is hidden underneath the crisp production and catchy melodies. Even the bright, infectious numbers on The Great Escape have gloomy subtexts, whether it's the disillusioned millionaire of "Country House" and the sycophant of "Charmless Man" or the bleak loneliness of "Globe Alone" and "Entertain Me." Naturally, the slower numbers are even more despairing, with the acoustic "Best Days," the lush, sweeping strings of "The Universal," and the stark, moving electronic ballad "Yuko & Hiro" ranking as the most affecting work Blur has ever recorded. However, none of this makes The Great Escape a burden or a difficult album. The music bristles with invention throughout, as Blur delves deeper into experimentation with synthesizers, horns, and strings; guitarist Graham Coxon twists out unusual chords and lead lines, and Damon Albarn spits out unexpected lyrical couplets filled with wit and venomous intelligence in each song. But Blur's most remarkable accomplishment is that it can reference the past -- the Scott Walker homage of "The Universal," the Terry Hall/Fun Boy Three cop on "Top Man," the skittish, XTC-flavored pop of "It Could Be You," and Albarn's devotion to Ray Davies -- while still moving forward, creating a vibrant, invigorating record.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/01/2008
Label: Emi Europe Generic
UPC: 0724383523528
catalogNumber: 835235
Rank: 59728

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blur   Primary Artist
Damon Albarn   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Simon Clarke   Saxophone
Graham Coxon   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Electric Guitar,Saxophone,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Theresa Davis   Background Vocals
Louise Fuller   Violin
Alex James   Bass Guitar,Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Roddy Lorimer   Trumpet
Dave Rowntree   Drums,Choir, Chorus,Hand Clapping
Tim Sanders   Saxophone
J. Neil Sidwell   Trombone
Stephen Street   Hand Clapping
Cathy Gillat   Vocals
Ken Livingstone   Narrator
Ivan McCermoy   Cello
Angela Murrell   Background Vocals
John Metcalfe   Viola
Rick Koster   Violin

Technical Credits

Damon Albarn   Composer,Engineer
Graham Coxon   Composer,Engineer
Alex James   Composer
Dave Rowntree   Composer,Engineer
Stephen Street   Producer
Jason Cox   Studio Manager
John Smith   Engineer

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The Great Escape 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the album that very nearly broke the back of Blur in their native Britain. Released at the same time as Oasis' ''(What's The Story) Morning Glory)'', which sold considerably more copies, Blur became victims of the age old British adage of putting someone on a pedastal so you can knock them down. Suddenly, lead singer Damon Albarn couldn't walk down the street without someone yelling the latest Oasis tune in his ear. It was the mother of all backlashes. Which is strange, because ''The Great Escape'' is a superb album. Fizzling with musical invention, (the ethereal, nightmarish guitars on ''He Thought Of Cars'') and lyrical gems, (''They're on the leather sofa, they're on the patio./And when the fun is over, watch themselves on video'' from ''Stereotypes''), it was a noted progression from ''Parklife''. Guitarist Graham Coxon established himself as the finest of his generation, bending his sounds around Albarns songs in much the same way as a painter colours in the white gaps of a rough sketch (especially on the melancholic ''Best Days''). The grandiose ''The Universal'' is a genuine throat lumper, swelling with Bacharian strings. And ''Entertain Me'' revisits the stomping disco beat of ''Girls And Boys'', matching a cracking tune with yearning lyrics. It's no surprise to learn that The Smiths were idols of Albarn and co.There's even the token punk song, (''Globe Alone''), that Blur always throw on to their records. It's a measure of Blurs self belief that the ensuing backlash following ''The Great Escape''s release didn't break them. And it's a sign of genuis that they went on to make even better records. Because this is an excellent album.