Not one to take a comment lightly, this is a defense of Blur in the unending Blur vs. Oasis feud. Dona, consider the gauntlet thrown. Regardless of commercial success, Blur has been and will always be the superior band, for the following reasons.
Unlike Oasis, who have stagnated since Definitely Maybe and What’s the Story Morning Glory?, beginning with 1991’s Leisure, Blur has consistently evolved and experimented with new songs and styles. Girls and Boys, She’s So High, Parklife, The Universal, these are but a few of the genre-jumping hits Blur has attained over the years. The band experienced their biggest success with Song 2, possibly the song least indicative of their overall sound. This same band brought you Think Tank, one of the best albums of this decade, containing songs ranging from the quiet and peaceful Sweet Song, to the boisterous Crazy Beat, to the highly experimental opening track Ambulance, Blur has shown more range on a single album than Oasis has shown in their entire career. No, the faux-Indian Hindu Times doesn’t count. The Beatles called, they want their sitar back.
An Expanded Presence
Blur’s legacy has spread beyond the band itself. Damon Albarn, one of the most brilliant musicians today, is the creative force behind the world’s first (good) virtual band the Gorillaz, The Good, The Bad, and The Queen, along with numerous other side-projects. Even what little I’ve heard of Graham Coxon’s solo material is gold. Beyond Oasis, what is there?
The Live Show
Considering the most relevant thing happening to Oasis in the last ten years is Noel getting tackled at the Toronto Virgin Festival, that certainly says something their live show. I’m not condoning tackling British musicians, but it certainly added some much needed emotion to the performance, didn’t it? The band looked bored out of their minds!
Here’s a clip of Blur playing Tender live in Paris. What’s this? Some audience interaction? Some emotion?
The Gallagher Brothers have built their reputation on slagging other bands, getting wasted, fighting each other as well as their fans. While I’m sure Blur has gotten into scuffles themselves, they’ve hardly been publicity addicts. You have drummer Dave Rowntree who has made a run for parliament, bassist Alex James who has converted his 90s cocaine habit into the BBC documentary Cocaine Diaries: Alex James in Colombia. As for the others, I’m a firm believer in letting the music do the talking, something Oasis forgot long ago while releasing tripe like Lyla.
This alone cements their greatness. Anyone who has the sense to work with Garth Jennings of Hammer and Tongs, director of countless classic music videos and feature films such the underrated Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow, clearly is worthy of greatness. Does Oasis have some sort of camel for a mascot? I THINK NOT.
Add all this and a reunion to come this year, and you have in me one happy Blur fan.
Of course, we could all just listen to Pulp and be done with the whole matter.