The "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" Award
By Maura McAndrew | 12 December 2012
Sometimes I think that Blur are just fucking with us. What other explanation can there be for what they did this year? They played a few shows together, recorded and released their best single since “Tender,” and then said they were going to make an album, even had begun recording one. Then they said they wouldn’t make one. Like ever. And then they said “maybe a film soundtrack.”
Blur is a band of abrasive personalities. (According to William Orbit, recent recording sessions were halted due to Damon Albarn being “kind of a shit”—not exactly a new problem.) Yet they can’t seem to keep away from each other for too long. One thing’s for sure: as much as they might want to say they’re done for good, Albarn, Coxon, James, and Rountree can still make beautiful music together. Take “Under the Westway,” one of this year’s two new tracks. It’ s an instant classic, a Lennon-esque ballad mining Blur’s favorite subject matter: industrial British cityscapes, fear of technology, and a bit of love story thrown in as afterthought. Albarn’s playing some satisfying piano, Coxon’s working in some silky-smooth leads, Rountree’s drums crash importantly, and bassist Alex James, well…he’s still got those cheekbones.
So maybe a full-on reunion is not inevitable and Blur are really never getting back together. But when we need a band to churn out a completely spellbinding ballad in the grand old tradition of Beatlesque spellbinding ballads, I can only hope they’ll oblige. Because when you can still make music like “Under the Westway,” it would truly be a pity to hang it up.