Britpop kings Blur are back.
Damon Albarn and Co. return this summer with a new LP, The Ballad of Darren, set for release July 21 through Parlophone.
But first, the four-piece unleash the first track from it, “The Narcissist.”
Blur’s first fresh cut in eight years is a jangly piece of indie goodness, on which Albarn tells the tale of someone who simple loves themself too much. He sings: “I’m going to shine a light in your eyes/ You’ll probably shine it back on me/ But I won’t fall this time/ With godspeed I’ll heed the signs.”
Produced by James Ford and recorded at Studio 13, London and Devon, The Ballad of Darren is Blur’s ninth studio album.
Spanning 10 tracks, it’s accompanied with artwork featuring an image by British photographer Martin Parr.
“This is an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now,” comments Albarn.
Guitarist Graham Coxon adds, “The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention. Sometimes just a riff doesn’t do the job.”
The surprises don’t end there. Blur return to their old stomping ground, Colchester, Essex, for a performance at Colchester Arts Centre on Friday (May 19), followed by a handful of warmup performances in the U.K.
Once warmed up, things should get hot when the group performs old stuff and new across the U.K. and Europe over the coming months, including their first ever shows at Wembley Stadium, July 8 and 9.
With a slew of hits including “Song 2,” Parklife,” “Girls & Boys,” Coffee & TV,” “Beetlebum,” “Country House,” and many more, Blur was one of the most successful British bands to emerge in the 1990s. They were head of the Britpop class. But unlike many of their classmates, they stayed together, evolved musically and remain relevant.
In their homeland, Blur landed 26 songs in the top 40, including two No. 1s. Six Blur albums have led the albums chart, including their most recent LP, 2015’s The Magic Whip.
“For any long-term relationship to last with any meaning you have to be able to surprise each other somehow and somehow we all continue to do that,” comments bass player Alex James on the new album.
Drummer Dave Rowntree continues, “It always feels very natural to make music together. With every record we do, the process reveals something new and we develop as a band. We don’t take that for granted.”
Stream “The Narcissist” and check out the album tracklist below.
The Ballad of Darren tracklist.
- The Ballad
- St Charles Square
- Russian Strings
- The Everglades (For Leonard)
- The Narcissist
- Goodbye Albert
- Far Away Island
- The Heights