Modern Life Is Rubbish is the second album by the English alternative rock band Blur, released in May 1993. Although their debut album Leisure (1991) had been commercially successful, Blur faced a severe media backlash soon after its release, and fell out of public favour. After the group returned from an unsuccessful tour of the United States, poorly received live performances and the rising popularity of rival band Suede further diminished Blur's status in the UK. Under threat of being dropped by Food Records, for their next album Blur underwent an image makeover championed by frontman Damon Albarn. The band incorporated influences from traditional British guitar-pop groups such as the Kinks and the Small Faces, and the resulting sound was melodic and lushly produced, featuring brass, woodwind and backing vocalists. Albarn's lyrics on Modern Life Is Rubbish use "poignant humour and Ray Davies characterisation to investigate the dreams, traditions and prejudices of suburban England", according to writer David Cavanagh.Modern Life Is Rubbish was a moderate chart success in the UK; the album peaked at number 15, while the singles taken from the album charted in the Top 30. Applauded by the music press, the album's Anglocentric rhetoric rejuvenated the group's fortunes after their post-Leisure slump. Modern Life Is Rubbish is regarded as one of the defining releases of the Britpop scene, and its chart-topping follow-ups—Parklife and The Great Escape—saw Blur emerge as one of Britain's leading pop acts.Wikipedia
Honestly, it didn't make much impact on me. I neither hated nor loved this album. It was mostly ignorable, early-90s poprock. Just... meh.
Always thought I was an oasis man. Turns out I’m a blur man
Too long and too boring. This album is rubbish.
classic britpop origins album
Never listened to Blur saved for a few songs, knew they were more than "Song 2" (which was a parody anyway). This is some damn good britpop. Damon Albarn really knows how to craft a catch tune. Favorite tracks: "For Tomorrow", "Oily Water", "Villa Roise"
Found out that I like Blur
MY FACE! WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ON MY FACE! ARGH FUCK! MY FACE! MY FACE! GET IT OFF MY FACE! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY FACE? MY BEAUTIFUL FACE! MAKE IT STOP! MY FACE! MY FACE! NOT MY FACE! MY HANDSOMELY STRUCTURED FACE IS FALLING APART. PLEASE, NO! NOT MY FACE! ANYTHING BUT MY FACE! NOT THE FACE. MY FACE! NOT THE FACE! WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING? WHAT'S HAPPENING?! WHY? MY FUCKIN' FACE! MY FACE! THIS ISN'T FAIR. NOT THE FACE!
Some people are too smart for their own good. You've probably met those sorts of guys before. They're often sitting in the back of the office or the classroom, having that distanced 'I-can't-be-bothered' stare, idly turning their head towards the urban smog outside the window, as if listening to their own inner teacher or boss instead of the real man in charge. If you're a little intrigued by all that cynical, borderline-nihilistic reserve, you sometimes find yourself talking to such a person during coffee breaks, just to see what they're all about. Soon, however, you realize you won't gain much from the conversation anyway, and often leave that coffee break even more nonplussed than you were before. You admit still being fascinated a little, but the unobtrusive words exchanged on the surface keep on screaming "boredom" to your ears. The only real problem being that you don't know for sure if said boredom actually belongs to that person you talked to, or if it's just *yours*. That bloke is *Modern Life Is Rubbish*-era Damon Albarn. Too smart for his own good, and thereby missing a chance to genuinely impress or fully convince you. Admittedly, this doesn't mean there's absolutely anything Damon and his pals from Blur couldn't say with some sort of force or intent when they recorded their second, aptly-named, album. There is, actually. "For Tomorrow" is nothing but a stellar opener, for example (more on that later), nicely paying homage to a oh-so-brit tradition established by the Kinks--whose shadow obviously looms above the first part of Blur's career (minus-*Leisure*) with decidedly good aftereffects overall. Here the vocal melody floats with a bittersweet, mock-happy-go-lucky charm that belies the existential dread underneath the song itself, and it takes a full string section towards the end of that gem to reveal the full tragedy at hand in that tale about postmodern dread. Following that great introduction, "Advert" is a little punky masterpiece that snarls and rattles the point of the album's title home even better than the opener. The schoolboy's lament "Pressure on Julian", a swampy track that foretells left-field, grungy elements from *Blur* and *13*, owes a lot to Graham Coxon's admirable chops on his six strings, the sort of musical sprinkling that can't hurt a second-tier song. As for "Turn It Up", it is a bouncy pop song that gives some needed levity at the eleventh hour (even though it's no "Song 2" or "Girls And Boys" either). This list of assets could go on, of course. Production is flawless (courtesy of long-time collaborators Steve Lovell and Stephen Street). Arrangements are artful. But are those tracks *memorable*? Do you remember *that* guy from your old classroom now, as well-dressed as he was? Probably not. Let's just hope that lad's nihilistic stance hasn't triggered him to do the worst and harm himself at some later points of his life at least. "He's a twentieth century boy / With his hands on the rails / Trying not to be sick again / And holding on for tomorrow". This is how the album starts, namely as an inverted T-Rex anthem where contemplations about suicide have taken the place of the usual calls to hedonism enacted throughout the history of rock'n'roll. On the same song, Damon tells a little more about the alienated individuals having such self-destructive thoughts: "Jim stops and gets out of the car / Goes to a house in Emperor's Gate / Through the door and to his room / And then he puts the TV on / Turns it off and makes some tea". Vacant life at its most obvious here. See also "Blue Jeans": "Blue, blue jeans I wear them every day / There's no particular reason to change / My thoughts are getting banal, I can't help it". Uh, OK, Damon, we *get* it. Consumer society and constant commodification play their parts gnawing us all into tiny little squibs devoid of all life. But the point is: do *you* have to sound so bored yourself to hammer that idea home? Isn't that overkill? C'mon, chin up. Shake a leg. You're turning into an annoying, humourless slob here, and this might go against your first intent, don't you think? Because... well, yes, duh: *Modern Life Is Rubbish* says it straight right from its title. You can't relax ("Star Shaped"), you're barfing on food and drugs to vent your frustrations out ("Chemical World"), there are leeches in the close-cropped lawns and "eating between meals stifles the appetite". Nice program, right? You also have to deal with publicity sponsors ("Colin Zeal"), militaries ("Sunday Sunday"), or even the CIA agency on "Miss America", an overlong dirge that saps what's left of the album momentum on side 2. This is a record that ends with a song called "Resigned", folks! Even though at that point, we're not necessarily caring any longer either, mind you, as harsh as it sounds to say so. All this performative angst might actually be nothing short of rosy under the sun for amateurs of works driven by wry, pessimistic hot takes about our late capitalistic societies. But the crux of the issue here is that overall, *Modern Life Is Rubbish* is almost a complete misfire on those topics, bordering on self-indulgence in the expression of mundane banalities, and becoming itself the sort of bane that it supposedly tries to tackle in the first place. And in a way, the music itself is burdened by the exact same sort of problems that are plaguing Albarn's lyrical conceits throughout the record. There is no sense of direction to the whole thing. Melodically speaking, some songs, especially those with the most "Britpop" inflexions, appear lively on the surface, but there's none of that catchy *spark* in them, none of the sheer tongue-in-cheek inventivity and directness Blur will become known for in *Parklife* for instance. It is probably no coincidence the latter was released only a year after this one, as if the Essex boys had felt the need to course-correct the many shortcomings witnessed here as soon as possible, before it was too late and they lost that peculiar zeitgeist they were aiming at in that tentative effort here. Likewise, what could pass for melancholy or mystery in some of those songs will be better explored later on, first with "To The End" on *Parklife*, and then further in parts of *The Great Escape*. But mostly, it is during the post-Britpop period that this specific dimension will finally bloom. Before those glorious days ahead, what we have is merely a sketch of the promising future, drawn thanks to a somewhat mechanical hand on auto-pilot. The sarcastic Village Green Preservation Society of days yonder has turned brown, and then bare. Blur still tries to summon its wry, ironic poetry, but their heart's not in it, as if squashed by the weight of their own conceptual pretensions. Fortunately, they found a way out of this conundrum, given that there isn't anything in *Modern Life Is Rubbish* that Blur hasn't done *better* in the three albums that followed it, gving Albarn and company the opportunity to finally have their cakes and eat it too. In those later records (*Parklife*, *The Great Escape* and *Blur*) not only has Blur allowed themselves to grind their axe about the pitfalls of modernity, but this time they also managed to have fun on the wayside. The music there does not merely *snarls*, it also *giggles*, *guffaws* and *rolls on the floor with laughter. Sometimes it also jumpstarts, gets genuinely angry, croons and even cries. In the core of those emotions, commodification and the unavoidable existential responses it triggers in us all are still lying there somewhere, honoring the initial program established in the band's second album. But to target those themes for what they are, you still need to contrast them with a little spice, a little flavour, and it's a lesson Blur has probably learned the hard way through this transitional second LP. Overall, we *do* agree with you, Damon: "modern life is rubbish" indeed. But no one said you *can't* have a wholehearted laugh about it, at least. [Number of albums I listened to from the list: 2 Albums left to listen to: 999 Number of albums I've found genuinely relevant: 0 Number of different albums you should listen to before you die: 2 (including this one)]
Not really interesting, some parts remind me of bowie
This album is rubbish. I cram to understand how a sophomore album from a second rate one hit wonder made this list.
This album is rubbish
In my top ten albums of all time. A super nostalgic group of songs which instantly take me back. Beautiful melodies and vivid story telling. Just amazing!!
Haven’t listened to it before, despite liking blue. A bit long but it’s worth.
Just really enjoyed it.
A great album. Every Song slaps - would listen to again
Def in my top two Blur albums. Love it.
Modern life IS rubbish. It was a lot better in 1993 with Mr. Blobby, Blind Date and Man Utd about to dominate. The only good thing about life now is online pornography and West Bromwich Albion's mascot, Boilerman. And we haven't been able to even see him for over a year now....apart from in online pornography.
Nice Blur album. Although the subjects of their songs tend to be relatable (if you're from the UK) and funny, it can sometimes feel like they do not have anything better to sing about.
Neat Britpop album! No complaints, pretty strong all the way through.
Blur’s best album.
I've loved Damon Albarn since I got into the Gorillaz in high school. I listened to Blur a decent amount then to try and "get more of that albarn sound" and honestly didn't like it much, or didn't feel like it stood out (gorillaz are WEIRD, Blur sounds exactly like an indie rock band). But yeah, Modern life is rubbish has a lot of really fresh fun songs. I think the pacing of the album is really great and I love albarn's voice so much.
A fantastic album
A prefect album from start to finish.
I own this album, on CD. Bought in the mid-90s I thought it was worth spending a week's allowance on. Having heard it now for the first time in 20+ years, I find myself humming For Tomorrow. For this, and almost this alone, I give the album five. I've got no problem acknowledging when my teenage musical self was "misguided", shall we say, but I just can't here. I came back to this thinking I'd find some egregious examples of crashy Britpop wank... But there isn't. There's just not. It obviously sets up britpop tropes, but each track seems to skirt around the edge of Britpop guff without succumbing. Astonishing. Albarn's vocals fits. Alex James' bass is tight. And the drumming from Dave Rowntree is stellar.
Absolutely triumphant - They really were the best of Britpop
"People talk about this trilogy of Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife and The Great Escape... we didn't plan it that way" - Graham Coxon "It was, kind of, the birth of what became known as the modern Blur" - Dave Rowntree Getting rid of the baggy aesthetic that was forced upon them by their record label, Blur looked forward whilst looking back in the creation of their first great album. Anglophile musings and seething resentment of the downtrodden grunge movement spurred Blur to craft pop songs that dealt with esoteric characters and everyday dealings of life and that path would sustain (and define) them as they became the biggest band in Britain. Modern Life is Rubbish? It still is.
its fuking blur
Best album of Blur? Blur is not in the same league as the Auteurs, Pulp or Suede.. but this album turns out to be just as strong as I remembered (it just needed a few extra spins and un-comparison with the Gun Club album from the day before) and it even does not include Popscene...
My Favourite Blur Album and their best in my opinion. Others have better tracks or were more revered or sold more. From memory this one didn't fare too well at the time so it is nice to see it recognised
One of my all time favourites. Villa Rosie gets me every time.
Well this is one brilliant album but it’s definitely blurs most front loaded album as I love the whole run from for tomorrow to oily water then Miss America onwards is just a drop in quality. Blur overload their albums anyway this just gets a 5/5.
A great album with some of my favourite Blur tracks on it: Blue Jeans, Miss America, Oily Water, Chemical World, For Tomorrow. Still sounds fantastic
Really cool variation of songs. Loved it
I read on Blur’s wiki that For Tomorrow was written as a single - and that stood out to me immediately. Very strong start, in my opinion. Also a train on the cover is obviously dope. Also I’m a magical transit child as of now. Overall, I found myself taking notice of bits of songs throughout the whole album, which to me means its catching my interest enough to stick out while I’m working. My rating my also be inflated since I feel like we’ve hit a rut of albums. I could see myself really enjoying some of these songs if I spent more time with the album, which I may or may not do.
Another cool post-punk pre-alternative album. I thought this one was interesting. There are times when it sounds like Bruce Springsteen, albeit with much different subject matter. It's easy to see the seeds of a lot of the music I grew up with in the 90s in this album. It goes by really fast, but every song is solid 4/5
Honestly, sounds like it’s about a decade ahead of its time... Solid.
Great Blur album!
nice vibes. 4/5
Good solid UK alt rock. Resigned is beautiful, can hear the gorillaz in there heaps.
Blur really are a pretty unique band. Great big gold nuggets of pop, it feels incredibly full of poise for a second album.
Really Great Britpop - some total nonsense storytelling and Damon’s younger voice has so much character.
This is really good. I had heard of Blur and I'm sure I've heard some of their music but this album was all new to me. Great energy.
I grew up listening to this album. I'm of the age that it was always questioned and contested who were better "Oasis" or "Blur" As I listened to both at the time, it wasn't really a question. They were both different, one Southern band and one Northern band. Being from the North I was more partial to Oasis, however it can't be stated enough the effort that goes into a band like Blur. Or any project Damon Albarn is working on, frankly. He's a man of passion, determination and creativity. I have great admiration for Blur and Damon
Pretty good punk-ish indie rock. Not every song is my style, but the general sound of the album is very nice.
Another Blur album I truly enjoyed! I love their sound. I think it would have been better about 10 minutes shorter, but great album!
The hymn of modern life. Intermission and outro are great, like the train of life speeding up uncontrollably. Colin Zeal is funny, and could be about me
Still misses something but a cracking album. Now part of my collection
Cynical, snearing with a healthy dose of vulnerability. This one shows Blur probably in their full turn-of-the-century paranoia and misanthropy ("Advert"), mixed with a dose of sensitivity ("Blue Jeans"). Plenty of interesting chord progressions, and the characteristic twists and turns that make Blur messy, good fun. Perhaps not the same towering hits here like in albums like Parklife. Still, a wonderfully solid addition to their catalog, with consistent hooks throughout.
In those hedonistic early '90s days, I bet Blur never thought their rubbish modern lives would turn out to be fat cheese maker, voice of a cartoon, Labour councilor and a quiet, speccy fella (ok, so Graham hasn't changed much). This album seems to get overlooked for some reason, maybe because it falls between Baggy There's No Otherway Blur and Britpop Parklife Blur. It's up there with their very best work though.
I really like Blur, they get even better with each album. Nothing sounds quite like Blur, they're very recognisable and interesting, even the songs I don't love are interesting to hear. The sound of Albarn's voice transports me straight back to the 90s, even on their newer stuff, Blur are the 90s in my head. A fun listen.
So. Long. I'm glad i listened to it. It's not my favorite genre, but it is a fucking vibe and a half and what they do, I feel they do well.
I've always liked blur and this is a good set up album before Parklife
this is back when people would recognise them for their musical achievements and not because they finger cheese or bum afrika. does anyone remember the afrika express? damon getting on a train with a load of africans and making some music. like womad on wheels. it had a strong stink of someone who got accused of being racist so went big trying to show everyone how much they like black people. i think he stopped short of wearing a pendant in the shape of africa, but i wouldn't be surprised if he did. this albums better than afrika express. also better than i remember.
Very enjoyable listen, some underrated tracks such as Sunday Sunday and Oily Water. Just a little too much filler.
The reason Modern Life Is Rubbish is such a dynamic record and ushered in a new era of British pop is that nearly every song is carefully constructed and boasts a killer melody. Even with its flaws, it's a record of considerable vision and excitement
A bit too pop to my taste.
Imam osjećaj da sam ovaj album najviše pokušavao slušati od Blura nakon Parklifea. Sjećam se dosta vožnje vlakom do glavnog kolodvora u ZG pa prelazak u drugi vlak pa za Vrapče, znam da su mi krepale bluetooth sluške pa sam na normalne prešo, ali nisu toliko kvalitetnog zvuka. Album kreće sa odličnom pjesmom For Tomorrow, a na ovom albumu se nalaze još par odličnih stvari kao: Advert, Chemical World, Oily Water, Colin Zeal, Sunday, Sunday. Ne znam, čini mi se da je ovaj album dosta underrated što se tiče Blura.
Very good, gotta love Damon
A period in Brit-pop where every band thought they could be the Beatles.
Gets better after a while
I have never listened to Blur before but enjoyed this album quite a bit. The range of influence that could be heard throughout was diverse and well incorporated. Overall, a great album
Very good album!
Aangenaam Britpop-album met veel leuke liedjes, naar het einde van het album toe zijn de nummers wat trager
Good to great pop.
Good album by Blur, hadn't heard any of these songs before. Mix of the upbeat high energy tunes you hear from their singles and some melodic jams.
So classically British. I can hear a ton of Bowie and Who influence here. Well written music. Don't know that I'd rush back out and listen to it but it's pretty good.
Their first great album. Like how Blur can sound kind of all over the place and very consistent at the same time. Oily Water is one of my favorite tracks of theirs.
Favs: Blue Jeans, Pressure on Julian, Oily Water Mehs: Advert Blur is good, JACOB! It has Damon Albarn! Blur is basically the acoustic Gorillaz!
I like it. I find it curious that I have the greatest hits compilation and none of these songs made it to that compilation. I also have the self titled album so I'm pretty familiar with Blur and I like them. And this album helps me like them more. Every song is good, they have a way with a melody and they sound so British which I love. 4 🌟
7/10. Honestly pretty good, just resent that Blur made this list more times than Tom Petty
Really good and unique sonic profile. A little long, which knocks it down from a 5, but Albarn is at a high point here.
I was wary about this one, going into it. I have discovered I don't care much for Britpop during this project. However, I am a big fan of other work by Albarn, Gorillaz being a particular favorite of mine. Honestly, I liked it a lot! It's not gonna be a new favorite or anything, but it was great hearing him in early spunky years and cool to see an origin of the Britpop sound. I can see why they were basically the face of the genre (along with Oasis).
Listened a lot when it came out It’s a great record … English as …
This is such a delight of an album, I genuinely enjoyed every part of it.
Knew fewer than I expected of the songs, but really enjoyed visiting early 90s London. For tomorrow, chemical world and intermission were top tracks
Being an American, the only Blur songs I have heard are Song 2 and Girls and Boys, neither pulled me into the broader catalog. Although my love for Gorillaz ensures that I appreciate the genius of Damon Albarn, this was the first deep listen for me. I immediately hear the direct offshoot from David Bowie's sound in the opening track "For Tomorrow" and continue to hear influences from bands like the Clash and the Kinks. This album fits perfectly into the evolution of British rock going into the mid-90s as the new wave shimmer disappears into a deep pool of more thoughtful lyricism and heavier psychedelic guitar riffs. Favorite Track: Advert or Oily Water
Thoroughly enjoyed the music on this album, not so much the vocals.
Better than I was expecting. Reminded me of The Jam.
A lot of nostalgia going on and fascinating to see a band on the way to where you know they're going. A few classic tracks here, but still a couple that are dragging their heels.
Excellent guitar work from Graham Coxon and, as a result, the first Blur album that really establishes their sound.
Great album. Blur sort of personifies what was good about a lot of pop rock in that era.
Mistakenly listened to 2 hr version with outtakes. Relistened. Yeh, this is definitely Blur, just without any jaunty hits. I was never big into them - but interesting to hear the 'pre going massive' album. Decent.
Enjoyable album. Few filler tracks on here but feels like an album I could listen to on a Sunday morning
Lustig dass zwei Tage vorher ein anderes Britpop album war, dass ich ziemlich doof fand. Dieses hier ist das Gegenteil - creativ-innovativ, instrumental abwechslungsreich und unkonventionell, trotzdem total poppig. To-The-Point und UTTERLY BRI-ISH, INNIT? ohne nervig zu sein. macht spaß
3,75. Sorpresa agradable. Tiene pinta de mejorar con las escuchas. Buen rollo, buenas melodías, y algunos pasajes que llaman mucho la atención. For tomorrow, Colin Zeal y Chemical world mis favoritas de primeras
90's brit-pop meets grunge. Competent album, but without anything really standing out. But quite a bit of variation. 3.5/4, which I'll round up.
8/10 really fun album, some parts were pretty proggy, other parts were more just pop stuff but overall a really fun album, favorite song was probably the Intermission after Chemical World, because it’s always a shock to hear a random album you’ve never heard before and be like ‘oh wait, I know this song’ and of course it’s from Baby Driver dude Baby Driver has introduced me to some of the coolest songs I’ve ever heard Edgar Wright sure knows how to make one hell of a playlist
Pretty similiar to Park Life, which is also a really great and fun album.
not bad, loathe a double album
Went into this knowing a few Blur tracks. I didn’t recognize anything on this album though. It’s a good Brit rock album! Blur sounds like they are carrying forward the sort of pop from the British Invasion of the 60s. Its really listenable, catchy music unapologetically British in tone and lyrics. I very much liked listening to this album. The Britpop sound does have shades of the guitar-driven grunge movement of Blur’s contemporaries and some punk influences, but the music is shinier. There’s even a touch of the beer hall vibe in a song like “Sunday Sunday”. I find the songs quite clever in both lyrics and structure. Definitely a keeper here that I’m glad to become acquainted with. Favorite Songs: For Tomorrow, Advert, Chemical World, Sunday Sunday, Coping, Turn It Up
Before today, all I knew of blur was their song from the Trainspotting soundtrack ("Sing") and the cover of their Leisure album with the lady in the flowered swim cap. I've listened to Modern Life is Rubbish many times today. It was good music to play while I worked, neither annoying nor overly distracting. And the more I listened, the more I liked. And yet, I'm finding blur very hard to pin down. Pretty much all I know for sure about them is they're British. I try not to read about the album before I write my review but I broke that rule today and that did help me make more sense of the album as an attempt to make something distinctively English, taking inspiration from Ray Davies and Paul Weller, after an unpleasant tour of the US. I can hear the essences of The Kinks and The Jam but with a 1990s sensibility, a British response to grunge. I really, really like every song on this album but there's something holding me back from loving it and I don't know what that is yet. I feel like I need more time with it. It's a solid 4 today but I can envision it inching its way up to a 5 eventually.
I'm not familiar with Blur and after a couple of listens, I guess I like the album enough to keep around for future listens. I guess there is no question that it is Brit pop music here. The tracks had a quaint and non-offensive tone for me. I wasn't really head-over-heels for any track, but the album had me bopping my head enough to end up with a like.
I used to love Blur - literally had the T-shirt of this one. 15 year olds are funny though, sounds like a very different album 25 years later. Very morose and often a bit boring. Still some great tracks on there but Damon’s tone sounds as cringeworthy to me now as the idea of writing the names of your favourite band on your bag in TippEx