HomeMusicAlbum Review: Blur, 'The Magic Whip'

Album Review: Blur, ‘The Magic Whip’

Written by Sam Evans


Think of the last time you heard about the band Blur. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Do you know that it has been 12 years since the band has toured and 16 since they last released an album? As someone that liked their music but never followed the band, I was shocked as well. Blur was began revolutionizing English pop music in 1989 when the band was formed. Overall, the band has one five BRIT Awards and were nominated twice for the Mercury Music Award since their conception. The last many of us heard from the band was when they went on tour in 2013.

Starting June of this year, Blur will be back in action and will return to headlining a world tour in lieu of their new album The Magic Whip. If you are looking for new music to listen to while you drive down the parkway. This is it. If you are looking for something to listen to when you are at the beach. This is it. If you are looking for the old Blur mixed with something new. THIS is it. Filled with catchy lyrics and haunting melodies, this album is a great comeback record for the band.


The album embodies a vast array of nearly all eras of the band. For guitarist Graham Coxon, the album displays an atmosphere of drifting in and out of the world that you are normally familiar with.

Starting out the record is “Lonesome Street.” Despite the content of the song itself, the melody is that of a very cheery almost jammy song.  Careening into the next song, “New World Towers” haunts yet relaxes the listener into a trance. The song is very futuristic with its looping melody and smooth harmonies. Heavy on drums and bass, the next song, “Go out” reminds the listener of the mid-to-late ’90s sound of the band. The tightness of each instrument, the chemistry of collaboration between each member resounds throughout the song.

Every band has an experimental side that they let out every once in a while. One can say it’s once every few years or once every new album. “Ice Cream Man” is Blur’s experimental song on the album. The twang of the guitar, the childlike rhythm all come together in this weirdly galactic melody. Keeping that almost galactic theme going, “Thought I was a Spaceman” brings in epic synth chords and xylophone chimes. “Thought I was a spaceman digging up my heart. In some distant sand dune, you again.” The start of the next song, “I Broadcast” makes me feel like I am in a Super Mario game. Aggressively coming at the listener with a feel-good attitude, the song almost mixes both the Gorillaz electronic sound with Blur’s usual English pop.

Slowing it down again, “My Terracotta Heart” pulls on the heart’s strings with a plea to someone that has been lost in love — “I’m running out of heartache. Just sitting out the constant doubt of my day but I don’t know what it is. I’m sweating out the toxins. Is my terracotta heart breaking? I don’t know if I’m losing you again.” Almost that of a soldier’s marching drum, “There are too many of us” beats on throughout, growing beat by beat, lyric by lyric. Alien-like tunes and Damon Albarn’s enchanting voice combined make this song the most intense on the album. Almost jazzy. Almost funky. “Ghost Ship” smoothly brings you into euphoria. “Till I ever hold you back there again. Will you be mine? Cause I’m on a ghost ship driving my heart home, come.”

Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Record
Photo Courtesy Warner Bros. Record

Eerily haunting lyrics, cosmic chimes, dark undertones, “Pyongyang” reels the listener in. Almost a ballad, the voice you know of Albarn has never sounded so unique and mystifying. “Darkness is itself. Tomorrow I am disappearing cause the trees are amplified. Never ending broadcasts to which I do not aspire.” Easily my favorite laid-back song on the album, “Ong Ong” ties the album together with a fun filled anthem. Clapping, chanting, banging drums, and almost island style keys make the listener sing along in a carefree, cheering tribute. Closing out the album with a David Bowie sound, “Mirrorball” is a lyrical masterpiece. The song sounds like it is out of a Western with echoing percussion, twangy guitars and intense strings all make “Mirrorball” both sentimental and rewarding. “Where is everyone? Oh mirrorball spinning out to sea. Think I found you in the temple square under the wishing tree. So I cried my eyes out. Hold close to me.”

For a comeback album, Blur hit the nail on the head, it’s is a blessing in disguise, or any other idiom you see fit. People always think that a band coming out of hiatus could be a bad thing, no one is ever used to change however The Magic Whip defies all doubts and is truly something that the band and their fans should be proud of.

The Magic Whip Album: 8 out of 10


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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