Blur – Under The Westway/The Puritan (2012)
“Like they’ve never been away,” some have said. But let’s be honest, the last 10 years have incorporated a gaping hole that was attempted to be filled by solo albums, experimental side projects, and Gorillaz. It just wasn’t the same. We were the loser — the listener, the receiver of those life-defining tunes that maybe we took for granted at the time. That rare moment when you think maybe you are living in a period they will speak of fondly in the future but end up being in awe that we really were there in the magic moments. Without doubt, nostalgia takes over. That first drink, cigarette, kiss — the world is yours and in the background all you can hear is ‘For Tomorrow’, ‘End Of A Century’, ‘He Thought Of Cars’, ‘Beetlebum’…
…’Under The Westway’, we are together again.
Back in that world that felt so real but has perhaps left you feeling a little let down. But the magic lives, it continues. Arguments, falling out, making up, back together. We are still young, we can still dream. Don’t let the melancholic reality of our late 20s and early 30s get you down. Beaten down we may be, but a sense of hope is back. Remember how it was back then and realise it can still be that way. What has changed? Can we go back? Is this a swan song or a new beginning?
The Beatles, Bowie, Blur — yes, they belong in the same sentence and that lump in your throat you feel as Albarn, Coxon, James, and Rowntree rediscover and combine their collective talents is certainly meant to be there. So maybe it is a little like they’ve not been away. ‘Under The Westway’ immediately jumps into the band’s top 10 tunes while ‘The Puritan’, with its fuzzy, shuffling beat, is a song that would seem a very appropriate progression from their last outing, 2003′s Think Tank. What happens next is unclear, with nothing concrete in place to indicate we will get a new album.
But, my god, it feels so good to have them back. – Matthew James
Various Artists – The Crow: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1994)
Most soundtracks are glorified playlists that generate buzz and ticket sales rather than repeat listens. Most of the soundtracks I’ve collected over the years have been sorely neglected (except for a handful of CDs that have taken on new and meaningful roles as coasters). The Crow remains an exception. The dark romance of the film still lingers in this motley assemblage of hard rock and alternative artists like the faint smell of smoke in a bar well after last call.
The Cure’s ‘Burn’ still fuels the flames of Eric Draven’s reincarnated vigilante persona. In the film, it underscores his first determined run along arson-scarred rooftops. Isolated from that imagery, it still carries with it a sense of urgency that insists upon action. The melancholy blues on ‘Big Empty’ actually feels more at home in this lineup than it does among family on Stone Temple Pilots’ sophomore album. The emotional stakes roll manically to and fro between sadness and rage, hovering only occasionally in the realm of acceptance. ‘Color Me Once’ is uncharacteristic of the Violent Femmes, but it fit perfectly on the jukebox for Devil’s Night and it continues to sit comfortably and calmly among aggressive rockers.
These songs fit the film, but apart from that action, they fit with each other to make for an immensely satisfying album. – Jeremy Schaefer