Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

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Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Yes
3
9%
No
31
91%
 
Total votes: 34

TristramShandy
Posts: 94
Joined: 07 May 2016, 10:49

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by TristramShandy » 13 Jul 2020, 17:27

In my opinion, Graham's part on Entertain Me is even more interesting than Alex's bassline. I never managed to figure out what effect he uses there (harmonizer???).

Brogues
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Joined: 22 Mar 2015, 07:54

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by Brogues » 13 Jul 2020, 19:57

Re: the effect that Graham uses, I’m pretty sure it’s a delay pedal (Boss Dd3) set on a very short delay time but with the feedback turned up. You get that kind of ringing shrill tone with it.

TristramShandy
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Joined: 07 May 2016, 10:49

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by TristramShandy » 13 Jul 2020, 20:18

Hey, very interesting! I'll be trying that. Thanks!

I know it's also the DD-3 with a similar configuration he uses on On Your Own for the brrrrlllll thingy, but there he only triggers it with a dead note, so that could explain the different tone he gets.

Brogues
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by Brogues » 13 Jul 2020, 20:33

Yep, very similar to On Your Own. Might be an even shorter delay time for Entertain Me - I can’t remember as it’s been a while since I tried to recreate it but On Your Own delay setting is in the right ball park.

FYI I think he also uses a really short delay on Stereotypes too but with the feedback turned down to give the chords a bit more ‘thickness’ - you can hear it on some of the live versions. I really like Graham’s use of delay in Blur and perhaps slightly unusual use of it early on in his signal chain. I think is what My Bloody Valentine did too (I know Gra was a fan of theirs) so perhaps he was inspired to set it up the same way.

semi
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Joined: 19 Feb 2015, 14:58

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by semi » 14 Jul 2020, 06:00

Have they ever played Entertain Me live?

Neal Zeal
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Joined: 17 Oct 2014, 16:43

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by Neal Zeal » 14 Jul 2020, 09:32

Aurangzeb wrote:
05 Jul 2020, 22:48
New member here. Just relistened to TGE after maybe 10 years. For what it is worth, here is my ten cents:

Song for song I believe TGE is stronger than 13, which is extremely overindulgent. And certainly better than the disappointing TMW.

Stereotypes: Musically one of the strongest things on here. Totally let down by the cringe lyrics. The voyeur style, looking at the lives of the suburbanites, hasn’t aged well.

Country House: It is what it is. I actually quite like it now.

Best Days: Possibly my favourite song on the album. A thing of beauty. The lyrics are interesting given the health issues Damon was experiencing. No need for the trip hop snare.

Charmless Man: Don’t get the hate for this. A fantastic piece of intelligent pop. The lyrics do raise an eyebrow, given the Mockney Yob persona Damon was cultivating at the time.

Fade Away: A low key gem. Only ruined by journalists banging on about the Specials.

Top Man: Pure B side territory. What is this doing on here? Get rid.

The Universal: Blur aiming high and achieving. Perhaps a reflection of the Bacharach re-evaluation going on at the time.

Mr. Robinson's Quango: Absolutely rotten. Keeps up the lyrical sneer of Stereotypes, with the music reaching Blur’s oompah nadir.

He Thought of Cars: Another triumph. TGE had a lot of interesting things going on, making the ‘Britpop by numbers’ reviews seem silly.

It Could Be You: A nice bit of power pop. Pleasantly inoffensive.

Ernold Same: I quite like this for some reason. Musically akin to Anniversary Waltz and other bits of Blur whimsy.

Globe Alone: Lyrically weak but adds a bit of needed punch to the album. Prefer the even more full on live version.

Dan Abnormal: Lyrical shortcomings aside another piece of fun pop. Not sure I like some of the ‘fairground’ production touches but there’s enough going on to keep your interest.

Entertain Me: Like a rubbish Girls and Boys. Utterly pointless.

Yuko and Hiro: A touch heavy handed with the lyrical metaphor, but a nice album closer with some heart.
Nice review - I agree with most comments. Yes, Entertain Me is indeed like a rubbish Girls and Boys!
I disagree with your view of Robinson Quango as having lyrical sneer, though.
Damon's not looking down on someone - rather, he is targeting a corrupt, wealthy, right-wing local business tycoon (runs the buses and the Evening Star). Music's a bit rubbish but the words are pretty good.
Yes, It Could Be You is great, too. The chord changes are fun if you like to strum-along.

dparrott
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by dparrott » 15 Jul 2020, 16:58

semi wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 06:00
Have they ever played Entertain Me live?
Yes, maybe not often. I have it on a bootleg, bass playing is better than the album but the mix sucks.

joana
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Joined: 20 Feb 2015, 17:56

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by joana » 15 Jul 2020, 17:25

No.

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AdvertBreak
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by AdvertBreak » 16 Jul 2020, 21:15

All the lonely, people where do they all belong.

There aren't many albums I can 'relate' to, but the Great Escape, with its studies of people irretrievably trapped in dead-end lives, comes close. It's often said that - contrary to MLIR and Parklife - Albarn has no sympathy for his characters on the album, which in my ears is total bollocks. I can think of few more unnerving records. Its not quite the old, 1980s 'entryist' trick of marrying sad songs to happy music, because the melancholy isn't buried. The lyrics are pressingly stark, leave little to the imagination on the loneliness front, but the music has different ways of providing commentary. In other words, sometimes its sympathetic to Damon's characters, sometimes its provoking and devious. 'Best Days' sounds quite like an arm round the shoulder, there in the hotel rooms listening to dial tones with you, whereas on something like Fade Away, Quango, Country House etc. the barmy horns are derisive, laughing at the poor characters with no way out, likewise the waltz on Ernold Same etc. Its not easy listening, and as a miseryguts listener myself I find that does something other songs rarely do - its like those songs are trying to put on a brave face, all fun and games, yet at the centre of these songs there's real sadness. They're not fooling anyone. Or like they're trying to open up but the rest of the world just doesn't care. It all just makes them so much closer to home.

More Specials is often cited as an influence on the album and I totally get it. There's an album that sounds like the imploding end of the world, singers in hushed tones plaintively speaking agony while elevator music just plays on through the atomisation. Everyone has their back turned.

I have no idea how wanky any of this sounds but all of it is to say I really love this album and I don't get the hostility so many have towards it. Musically its an embarrassment of riches. Lots of Blur-canon British pop touchstones - XTC, Cardiacs, Specials, baroque pop, Wire - are clockable but all very much employed in totally inventive ways. To pick up on a few points He Thought of Cars is my second favourite Blur song, Blur's clearest debt to that point to 70s art rock and post-punk and yet it sounds like neither, just a shared feeling of newness in madness. Damon does the non-sequitur thing of Barney Sumner, just listing lonely everyday scenes which no narrative pattern which all still come together to strike a deep mark (its Damon's That's Entertainment) (another song like that is Nothing Ever Happens, but that's a bit too clunky to take to heart), and oh wow, the music - particularly in the intro, choruses and outro - this crunchy grind of guitar, drums and bass that don't quite know what to make of each other, that sound like they come from different songs, like the fogginess of a distressed state of mind, well its just perfect. There is nothing extra they could have done to make it any more chilling, for me.

And doesn't this album just end in the best way too. Yuko and Hiro is as bleak, as fatalist a remoteness, an album closer of deathly muzak as the Enjoy Yourself Reprise on More Specials or Death Is a Star on Combat Rock. Yet its not in a different position than the rest of the album (More Specials at least prefixed its deathly singalong with the sound of a plane crash, proving that this is the end). Its, just like the other songs, a desolate plea for contentment, or some sort of life, which gets completely ignored - because there's so many of these, and so so many might as well get their three minutes. And naturally, the chintzy lounge music just plays on regardless and the world smothers him silently. Those howling, keyboard notes at the end feel slower and slower as they ricochet and decay into the huge blank nothingness, quietening and quietening until there really is only silence left.

Until 30 seconds later, when the instrumental Ernold Same reprise, with its sarcastic jolliness, comes in and out of the black hole to just reiterate painfully there really isn't a happy ending.

bushmonkey
Posts: 58
Joined: 01 Apr 2015, 15:37

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by bushmonkey » 20 Jul 2020, 12:49

semi wrote:
14 Jul 2020, 06:00
Have they ever played Entertain Me live?
At least 12 times in 1995/6 according to Setlistfm:

https://www.setlist.fm/stats/songs/blur ... tertain+Me
On the slow boat to Lantau through misty seas...

bushmonkey
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by bushmonkey » 20 Jul 2020, 13:04

Not for me.

I loved TGE when it was first released, grew to despise it as I grew older, but have come to love it again. Yes there are some sloppy moments (Mr Robinson's Quango, Topman) and some of the lyrics and themes are a little outdated, but it's an enjoyable listen.

Best Days is stunning. He Thought of Cars, The Universal and Fade Away are all classics for me.

Country House I also loved, hated, and then loved again. It's a fun song, and I was so pleased the band re-embraced it for Glasto 09.

Think Tank for me is their worst album. I find it almost unlistenable apart from Out of Time.
On the slow boat to Lantau through misty seas...

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stephen
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by stephen » 20 Jul 2020, 13:25

bushmonkey wrote:
20 Jul 2020, 13:04
Think Tank for me is their worst album. I find it almost unlistenable apart from Out of Time
Image

Neal Zeal
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Joined: 17 Oct 2014, 16:43

Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by Neal Zeal » 20 Jul 2020, 13:43

bushmonkey wrote:
20 Jul 2020, 13:04
Not for me.

I loved TGE when it was first released, grew to despise it as I grew older, but have come to love it again. Yes there are some sloppy moments (Mr Robinson's Quango, Topman) and some of the lyrics and themes are a little outdated, but it's an enjoyable listen.

Best Days is stunning. He Thought of Cars, The Universal and Fade Away are all classics for me.

Country House I also loved, hated, and then loved again. It's a fun song, and I was so pleased the band re-embraced it for Glasto 09.

Think Tank for me is their worst album. I find it almost unlistenable apart from Out of Time.
Mine is 13 (sorry). Coffee is great, Tender would be great (if it wasn't for the awful 'Oh mah bay-bair!' cliches).
The rest is a frequently joyless muddle.

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stephen
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by stephen » 20 Jul 2020, 13:55

Oh the worst one for me is leisure for sure. It's so bad most fans dismiss it all together

bushmonkey
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Re: Is The Great Escape the worst Blur album?

Post by bushmonkey » 20 Jul 2020, 14:01

stephen wrote:
20 Jul 2020, 13:55
Oh the worst one for me is leisure for sure. It's so bad most fans dismiss it all together
Second worse for me! Sing and Repetition are both fantastic, and lift it above Think Tank imo. Slow Down and There's No Other Way aren't bad.
On the slow boat to Lantau through misty seas...

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