There's an old saying those of a certain generation would be familiar with: you’re either a Beatles fan or a Stones fan. This divide is as narrow as Jagger’s skinny shoulders but so wide, it can tear families apart (okay, an exaggeration but not far from the truth).
For those of a younger generation, there's a similar divide between Blur and Oasis fans. For me there's no contest between the two. Simply put: Blur rule and Oasis suck. Thankfully, Mine has the same opinion. In fact, I doubt our marriage would have lasted if one of us had thought differently. There are some things that simply can’t work together.
Parklife was the real beginning of my love of this band. When it first came out, I was sharing a house with two girls who had an unswerving love of all things British and total control over the only stereo in the house. I had no choice: it was either enjoy the music they played or throw myself off the roof. Having to endure some of their selections for the umpteenth time often became a chore. However, with Blur, listening proved to be such a pleasure, I would indulge myself even if they weren’t home.
Parklife isn't my favourite Blur album. But then again, I don’t have a favourite. As far as I’m concerned, even if Blur were to make a really bad album, it would be light-years in front of anything Oasis could do. And that, my friends, is a huge divide.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
(Cockney accent) There are two main emotions I experience when I'm thinking about - PARKLIFE! (Sorry, I just have to channel the song when I'm writing about it.)
One is elation - for the title track, the sheer raunchery of Girls & Boys, for all-balls-out with Tracy Jacks and Magic America, and for This Is A Low (where elation mixes with reverential awe).
The other is frustration - that I can't walk up to the man who was a manager at HMV when I was a temp there in 1997 and say "SEE????"
Because he was Oasis and I was Blur. And I could say "Well those eyebrowed Mancunians have done bugger-all worthwhile since What's The Story. And while Blur did break up eventually they put in some damn fine albums right into the 2000s. Plus Damon Albarn??? Gorillaz? The Good, The Bad And The Queen? Film scores? WHO'S GOT CREDIBILITY NOW, DUDE?"
OK, I could be overreacting a bit. I guess I could say Parklife's not my favourite Blur album - even though it's got a bunch of great songs on it - but it was my first.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
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In our collection, we also have 13 and Think Tank