My First Album
For the first of my birthday treats, I thought I'd go right back to where it all started for me: Parklife by Blur, my very first album. I got brought it on cassette as a present for being good by my mum. I don't know why I chose it, I just remember seeing an advert for it on the side of a bus and thinking that the black greyhound was staring at me.
I don't even think I'd heard any of their music before but to a 9-year-old who had only really listened to The Beatles and Chuck Berry, it was an inspiring experience and I was hooked immediately. I listened to it non-stop on a trip to Suffolk on my 'My First Sony Walkman'. I must have gone through it 8 or 9 times in that one car journey and I still wanted to listen to it more.
It's seeped in infectious energy. Every track catches and holds your attention, every one seems to be a different genre, every one has something special about it. Girls And Boys has the excellently easy keyboard part and sing-along-able chorus, End Of A Century is sincere and honest, London Loves with its grubby 80s bass-line. I love the tracks that have punk edge too. Bank Holiday and Jubilee may have been my gateway drug to heavier, fast music, even if they took 5 years to work.
Blur are really all about Albarn and Coxon. Damon's persona and lyrics create the exuberant atmosphere but Graham's guitar-work throughout Parklife is incredible. I don't think I appreciated it at the time but listening to the intro to This Is A Low now gives me chills. In fact, listening to Parklife now, at the rusty age of 23, still gives me the same intense excitement that it did when I was 9.
It was the perfect album for me at the perfect time and my life probably wouldn't have been the same without it.
Blur - This Is A Low (live)
Blur - Bank Holiday (live)
Blur - London Loves (live)
Thanks to no_cultureicons for the mp3s