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A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 08:53
by Neal Zeal
When I read the first press release about the Magic Whip, my expectations for the album were quite low. It was apparently formed from a bunch of demos that the band recorded briefly whilst on tour, that Damon didn't really think were good enough to take any further.
However, when the official reviews started coming in, and people round here who'd heard the album first started giving their opinions, it seemed like we had a potentially great album on our hands.
Yet, when I bought the album and listened to it a few times, it felt like my initial expectations were pretty accurate.
It was an album with lots of quite good songs but nothing came close to greatness.
Quite a few of the songs sounded like less-good versions of other people's songs. Ong Ong a bit like the verse to Ash's Shining Light but without it's brilliant chorus. Ghost Ship a bit like 'Juxtaposed with You' but nothing like as powerful or melodic. Lonesome Street sounded like it would have been a slightly disappointing b-side in the band's Britpop prime. Pyongyang is admittedly a good song - the standout, really - but even that would have just been one of the lower quality album tracks in the 1990s.
It seems the Blur-playing radio stations feel the same. Not a single song from the Magic Whip era on here http://comparemyradio.com/artists/Blur/tracks" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; even though Lonesome Street, at least, picked up quite a bit of airplay at the time of release.
I'm a keen guitar strummer and whenever I hear a great song, I look up the chords and try to play it. I haven't had the urge to do that to anything on Magic Whip. I haven't even learnt the words to any of the songs.
It's over a year old now and I listened to it recently after a 6 month gap, and my feelings are the same.
It's not an awful album - just a so-so one. One to have on in the background.
My views on Blur generally coincide with the consensus about which are their best songs, so I'm really quite baffled by how many people seem to think Magic Whip is a great album. Explanations?

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 14:18
by Simon le bon
I agree on some points. TMW was a great moment because it was the opportunity to hear new material from blur, go to gigs, read articles about the band...how exciting 2015 was, all thanks to the guys! but i disagree with the people who rate it 9.5/10 and say that every song of the album is just perfect. I don't believe that TMW will stand the test of time, there are no classic tunes like This is a low, Beetlebum, Sing, Caramel, End of a century or For Tomorrow.
I really enjoy New World Towers, Pyongyang and Lonesome Street, but i still have the feeling that the album would have been much more intense if they worked properly on it the 5 of them, full-time for 3 months. But i don't think that such a recording process is feasable anymore for blur i'm afraid.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 15:39
by tom_cas1
It's easy to say songs like This Is A Low, Beetlebum and For Tomorrow are all-time classics and songs from The Magic Whip aren't. Those songs have been around for over two decades now and in many ways Blur's legendary status grew during their hiatus between Think Tank and their comeback announcement in 2008. All of those comeback rumours during those dark years helped to increase Blur's legacy and as a result all of their songs pre-Fool's Day are now seen as gems. And rightly so of course, but it's unfair to compare those songs to songs on The Magic Whip.

It's very rare to think "these songs will stand the test of time" upon hearing them for the first time. Time has to go by first to actually make that statement.

To sum up it's still a 9/10 album for me and has been since the MODE show.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 18:26
by Simon le bon
Yeah, it s been a year now, and I think that it's more than enough to say that Mirrorball or I broadcast are "minor" songs in blur history.

Yeah, we all know that you went to the MODE gig as you mention it in half of your posts, and I'm very happy for you (or jealous, if you want)
But the fact that you decided that the album is 9/10 just after that concert, when most of the songs weren't even out, says a lot.
you tell me that it's too early to say that this album won't stand the test of time, but you already had a a clear and inflexible opinion about an album that was not even out!

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 19:07
by AstronomyD81
I loved the album the first time I listened but I love it now even more, for me is not a 9 but yes a 8 /8,5 ..

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 20:29
by northernmonkey
For me I wouldn't say that every song is perfect as such but I would say there are no fillers or songs I would choose to skip. I would rate it as an 8.5/9 even after over a year. Songs such as Lonesome Street, TIWASM, Ghost Ship and Pyongyang are the stand out tracks, but really enjoy all the other tracks and can listen to this album from start to finish. From a fans point of view maybe I should lower this to an 8 as maybe for me part of the experience is Damon and Graham playing together again and maybe it is hard to truelly rate this without a little biased opinion but this is certainly a great comeback album. Much of Think Tank for me did feel forced without Graham and despite me thinking it is a great album I do still ponder if it was really a Blur record without him despite seeing them live many times in 2003 with Tongy and enjoying the shows. TMW doesn't have that feeling, each and every song feels more Blur than the 3 post re-union songs and if Blur were to release another record I believe they would still play a handful of these songs in their set lists and as mentioned already, it is too early at this stage to say know if these are classic songs.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 21:21
by Veikko
Majority of The Magic Whip songs are instantly likable, but sadly many of them didn't grow on me much after the first listens... The only real growers were "There Are Too Many Of Us" and "Thought I Was A Spaceman" - simply because they had unique atmosphere and were not that easily digestible.

In my opinion TMW suffers a bit from too busy/sprawling instrumentation, but I understand they wanted to acquire the feeling of a big city. However some of this busyness must be due to Stephen Street's signature sound. I personally think that the more laid-back/organic sound fits Blur better these days.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good album, almost too good to be true after all these years, but it's not as original and rewarding as 13 or Think Tank.

I'd currently give it a 8/10.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 21:47
by tom_cas1
Simon le bon wrote:But the fact that you decided that the album is 9/10 just after that concert, when most of the songs weren't even out, says a lot.
It does indeed. :) The songs are fantastic, no duffs to be seen although New World Towers is much better in a live setting. That's the only "negative" I have.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 11 Jul 2016, 21:50
by 101reykjavik
13
MLIR
Blur
Parklife
The Magic Whip
The Great Escape
Think Tank
Leisure

2015 was a very exciting time for us all. A year hence, I'd say it sits about middle in my ranking of all Blur albums.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 12 Jul 2016, 00:00
by northernmonkey
101reykjavik wrote:13
MLIR
Blur
Parklife
The Magic Whip
The Great Escape
Think Tank
Leisure

2015 was a very exciting time for us all. A year hence, I'd say it sits about middle in my ranking of all Blur albums.
I can't argue too much with the order, although I still think it is one of those rare times when you have an album of 12 good to great songs. It may not be as experimental as say self titled, 13 or even Think Tank but it does sound different enough and in my opinion it sounds like Blur rather than a Damon driven project, but I guess the work with Graham and Stephen Street has steered this in the right direction. I do agree with what was said earlier about many songs shooting to greater heights due to the band being inactive for so many years, I think the whole nostalgia thing has helped but I do also think many of these tracks from the first 6 albums at least we're ahead of their time. So for me TMW is a great album that was worth the long wait and better than I expected after so many years of not recording together.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 13 Jul 2016, 16:44
by 101reykjavik
northernmonkey wrote:
101reykjavik wrote:13
MLIR
Blur
Parklife
The Magic Whip
The Great Escape
Think Tank
Leisure

2015 was a very exciting time for us all. A year hence, I'd say it sits about middle in my ranking of all Blur albums.
I can't argue too much with the order, although I still think it is one of those rare times when you have an album of 12 good to great songs. It may not be as experimental as say self titled, 13 or even Think Tank but it does sound different enough and in my opinion it sounds like Blur rather than a Damon driven project, but I guess the work with Graham and Stephen Street has steered this in the right direction. I do agree with what was said earlier about many songs shooting to greater heights due to the band being inactive for so many years, I think the whole nostalgia thing has helped but I do also think many of these tracks from the first 6 albums at least we're ahead of their time. So for me TMW is a great album that was worth the long wait and better than I expected after so many years of not recording together.
That's all fair comment. Particularly agree with that last sentence. Bearing in mind the generally ignoble history of comeback albums, I think the boys can be rightly chuffed at the quality of the album they pulled out the bag. The fact I now place it around the middle merely emphasises the overall quality of their output. It's not a criticism of TMW, simply a recognition of the brilliance of much of the rest of the back catalogue.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 13 Jul 2016, 17:25
by AdvertBreak
A few people on here were jumping at the "yeah when the hype dies down you won't be so interested" when it came out and the mist faded very quickly. I gave it an 8 or 9 at the time (don't remember which) and that's still the rating I give it.

13
MLIR
The Great Escape
Think Tank
The Magic Whip
Parklife
Blur
Leisure

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 13 Jul 2016, 17:47
by Forever Low Man
13
Leisure
MLIR
The Magic Whip
Think Tank
s/t
Parklife
TGE

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 14 Jul 2016, 06:59
by TripleJay97
It's still top tier for me, probably my third or fourth favourite Blur record. It's a very consistent album which manages to keep me interested, with not a lot of declination of quality at all. The only song I'd say isn't on par with the others is I Broadcast, and that's only because the live version is so much better.

Re: A thread for those disappointed by The Magic Whip

Posted: 15 Jul 2016, 09:21
by JackS
MLIR
Parklife
13
TMW
Think Tank
Blur
TGE
Leisure

It doesn't quite scrape MLIR, Parklife or 13 off the top end of the scale for me, but a year on it is firmly up there.