Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Discussion about the band and related projects.

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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby stephen » 15 Sep 2017, 14:55

northernmonkey wrote:
dougharrison wrote: NB Coffee + TV missed the top 10 didn't get a huge amount of exposure on release, if memory serves correctly, but was something of a slow-burner in terms of airplay and TV/film placements.


If my memory serves me correct, it would have charted a lot higher, but for some reason the music store 'Our Price' sales were not included in the weekly sales of the first week, which would have made a difference as they were on pretty much every high street, shame really because the band had got it right with the song and video.


The manager of pop band Blur is demanding a re-run of last week's Top 40 singles chart after sales figures from two of the UK's biggest retailers were missed out from the final countdown.
Chris Morrison believes the chart of 4 July was inaccurate because data from the Virgin and Our Price chains was omitted from the survey.

Blur's Coffee And TV single failed to make the Top 10 that week - and Morrison blames the lack of details from the two retailers. The song reached number 11 instead.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/393073.stm
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby UnderThePuritan » 15 Sep 2017, 15:34

Nope. I would have loved a bit more beautiful Graham noise over the tracks. It was too mellow, too Damon. The balance wasn't right IMO.
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby dougharrison » 15 Sep 2017, 19:19

stephen wrote:
northernmonkey wrote:
If my memory serves me correct, it would have charted a lot higher, but for some reason the music store 'Our Price' sales were not included in the weekly sales of the first week, which would have made a difference as they were on pretty much every high street, shame really because the band had got it right with the song and video.


The manager of pop band Blur is demanding a re-run of last week's Top 40 singles chart after sales figures from two of the UK's biggest retailers were missed out from the final countdown.
Chris Morrison believes the chart of 4 July was inaccurate because data from the Virgin and Our Price chains was omitted from the survey.

Blur's Coffee And TV single failed to make the Top 10 that week - and Morrison blames the lack of details from the two retailers. The song reached number 11 instead.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/393073.stm


Beaten to it! I couldn't remember the exact details, but recall the story IIRC it charted at 11 and it was thought that it should have been #9 if not for the discrepancies, my recollection of that part is strong enough to be fairly convinced I'm right
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby metalhipslop » 16 Sep 2017, 05:11

The album is great, but Go Out still blows me away. I remember when it first came out and hearing it on youtube... It had everything I love about blur in one track and it was NEW. I thought I was dreaming.
Not many bands that "reunite" can pull that off. Maybe i'm just a fanboy though
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby Pavlich » 16 Sep 2017, 13:45

Styopa wrote:For me, there would have something neat and tidy if they had finished with 13. The end of the 90s, the end of Blur as a full time band, the end (as hindsight has shown) of a career defining run of albums and singles that is now widely accepted as the Blur cannon, their legacy. Blur were a part of the 90s in the same way The Smiths were a part of the 80s or The Beatles were a part of the 60s. They existed in that context and the OCD part of me would have been satisfied if that was where the story ends.

However, real life is messy. Often there is no closure or identifiable 'end'. Sometimes things just peter out. Sometimes we think we're at an end but we're not. Sometimes something big ends and we don't notice it until years later.

I don't see The Magic Whip as closure, rather I see it as a continuation of what they have been doing since the conclusion of their 90s heyday - Music Is My Radar, Think Tank, Hyde Park, Fool's Day, Under The Westway - strong and enjoyable work from a group of people who recognise that this band - this monster they created and now very much has a life of its own - is no longer their primary, ongoing concern in life but still has something to give. It's patchy, but in some ways I think it reflects the journey we are all on in life - none of us truly knows what lies ahead.

This is beautiful. This is like reading a book and a particular sentence speaks to you in a way you never thought anyone else thought or even wrote. I agree.

I think 13 would have been their best exit because it's a very good album, it's even considered their best amongst lots of fans, it would have left everyone with a 'Blur were just getting good!' question mark, it would have kept them as a concise 90s act, and it would have ended on a beautiful song and all of them being a band, for all their faults, for the whole ride.

However so much has come from Think Tank, the reunion, and The Magic Whip. Ambulance is a great song, Out of Time, Battery In Your Leg, Under The Westway, and Go Out can all be considered amongst their best, most interesting songs ever. Good Song, Sweet Song, a lot on those albums are very good and to not have them would be a shame.

I also got to see this band twice – as a young person born when Britpop was big, who is from Australia, that is huge. To see Blur... Blur, in London, England, in Hyde Park... I can be thankful for that.

There is also the narrative of friendship and a lack of permanence, and in many ways Blur disbanding and coming together is a real life narrative. We all lose friends and pick up some more. We all vow to stop talking to some, to make new ones, to move on. Inevitably true friendship comes out on top and our faults are put to a side, and our times, memories, commons, and similarities are the binding forces that, at the very least, ensure we will be mates despite it all. In a way Blur is the byproduct of quite normal, but very different and equally emotional people. Damon Albarn is someone less interested in career arcs and his greater discography. For better or worse, that makes his approach to music hard to track. We are just as likely to get something out of nowhere as we are to never get an album he constantly brings up. I personally like artists, musicians, who relate one album to the next and how they all fit in together. Damon isn't that person but he is talented and has given me and lots of people so many nice memories. I can't begrudge that. My issue with him is he quite often lacks quality control and does things on a whim, to get them out, to move onto the next thing, and to almost release things for the sake of them being there... a great example are the constantly diminishing releases from Gorillaz, the pointless Fall album, and the pretty much awful and scattergun Humanz album which lacked cohesion, heart, intent, and had a really bad name and shit artwork to go with its half-arsed and improvised release schedule. As I said before... a new Blur album could come in six months or could never come, and he has spoken of this many times, particularly in relation to the live shows.

Is The Magic Whip a good album? I liked it at the time. Go Out is one of their best singles. It's an album that sounds as though it came from 2005, and not 2015, which shows how well it goes after Think Tank. In a way it might also show how little Damon has actually progressed in terms of sound, instrumentation, and feel since his huge artistic innovation and experimentation from about 1997-2003. More so 1999-2001. I think it's a good album. It's not something I ever really listen to but it is no blight on their discography. And the live shows were pretty good, at least in line with the 2009-2012 run.

For me, reunions are cheap and easy now and well received even when they don't deserve to be. So many bands and albums and movies have sequels that never needed to happen, but did for the clicks and money and reunion castings... so many are cheap, thin, awful, pointless, cynical, and never get called out as such... I'm not usually one to blindly defend things but this album didn't seem a bad idea... maybe because they were trying to redeem something, as opposed to so many bands who went out with a near perfect career, or a set of great albums, or a zeitgeist and era they belonged in.

Is it a fitting farewell? No. But I don't think Blur are the band to do that anymore.

I feel as though we will get one more album or none. I would personally prefer we get one more good one, rather than four more good ones.
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby John_d » 18 Sep 2017, 06:20

I've written detailed thoughts already on TMW and the "campaign" that went around it. It was all quite half baked. I thought Go Out was pretty limp. It promises to get good but never gets there. Ong Ong was genuinely catchy and fun and should have been the single.

I recall their arms had to be kind of twisted (by EMI?) to make Coffee & TV a single, when to all the fans it seemed obvious. Whoever brought in hammer & tongs for the video was very clever. Damon deserves a lot of credit for how the Gorillaz singles in 2005 were so successful, as does whoever it was at EMI who was helping push them. It's very respectable to have chart hits spanning 15 years.

I agree there have been subsequent quality control problems (including to a degree TMW) but I think Humanz is a very good piece of work and the tour seems to be going great.
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby Pavlich » 18 Sep 2017, 14:28

I never got the love for Ong Ong. Seemed the sort of song they never ever would have made fifteen years ago, and not in a good way like Fool's Day. The absolute corniness of it gets to me, as does its sunny disposition, as does how nonsensical the lyrics and story of the song are. It's a song that sounds like a returning band full of middle aged, out of ideas blokes writing what they think a fun, easy going single would be.

I think there's a great angle Blur could take one day. You can use your older age to write interesting and very good things. Capitalising on that awkward ageing is hard but can be pulled off. But Ong Ong is the absolute worst example of it. It's just a lame song, and the video is...
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby Mallard No. 22 » 22 Sep 2017, 04:28

Neal Zeal wrote:
Mallard No. 22 wrote:If you are talking about a chart career, popular with the masses, then that ran from Leisure to Think Tank. In the wider 'Blur-world', it ran until Demon Days. I base this upon top ten placings in the singles chart.


A top 10 single is easy enough to work out but it's not a very good way of judging whether a group is popular with the masses. Radio airplay and album sales show whether an act is well liked (or at least known) beyond the immediate fan-base. The big Blur albums sold close to, or above, 1 million. Think Tank barely scraped 100,000 and although, technically, Out of Time went top 10 it flew out of the top 40 rapidly, sold a tiny fraction of the big Blur singles, and got very little radio airplay at the time or since. Morrissey had plenty of top 10 singles but virtually none that stuck around longer than a week or got played on the radio - his solo songs have never been popular with the masses.


I think there was more chance of the passive audience humming along to Blur (& Gorillaz) songs between the mid-90s & mid-2000s. In the latter half of this period, Gorillaz took over the 'commercial aspect'. Blur singles always tended to come in at high positions and descend quickly, and this was especially true of The Smiths/Morrissey. That said, I think you have valid points.

I will say though that post-'Demon Days', Blur/Gorillaz music has probably become 'deeper' and less-commercial.
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby John_d » 22 Sep 2017, 06:07

Pavlich wrote:I never got the love for Ong Ong. Seemed the sort of song they never ever would have made fifteen years ago, and not in a good way like Fool's Day. The absolute corniness of it gets to me, as does its sunny disposition, as does how nonsensical the lyrics and story of the song are. It's a song that sounds like a returning band full of middle aged, out of ideas blokes writing what they think a fun, easy going single would be.

I think there's a great angle Blur could take one day. You can use your older age to write interesting and very good things. Capitalising on that awkward ageing is hard but can be pulled off. But Ong Ong is the absolute worst example of it. It's just a lame song, and the video is...


This made me laugh! Maybe I'm an old guy too! :oops: The lyrics describe a guy wanting to be with a girl, I don't think that's a problem. The video was nonsense unfortunately, that's correct. I just think that Blur singles are associated with melody and fun, and Ong Ong is the most melodic thing on the album, and wouldn't sound out of place on (for example) the Best Of. Go Out however definitely would, it's a weak track. Lonesome Street is almost painfully retro and again a poor "single" or "lead song" choice.
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby stephen » 22 Sep 2017, 10:30

John_d wrote:
Pavlich wrote:I never got the love for Ong Ong. Seemed the sort of song they never ever would have made fifteen years ago, and not in a good way like Fool's Day. The absolute corniness of it gets to me, as does its sunny disposition, as does how nonsensical the lyrics and story of the song are. It's a song that sounds like a returning band full of middle aged, out of ideas blokes writing what they think a fun, easy going single would be.

I think there's a great angle Blur could take one day. You can use your older age to write interesting and very good things. Capitalising on that awkward ageing is hard but can be pulled off. But Ong Ong is the absolute worst example of it. It's just a lame song, and the video is...


This made me laugh! Maybe I'm an old guy too! :oops: The lyrics describe a guy wanting to be with a girl, I don't think that's a problem. The video was nonsense unfortunately, that's correct. I just think that Blur singles are associated with melody and fun, and Ong Ong is the most melodic thing on the album, and wouldn't sound out of place on (for example) the Best Of. Go Out however definitely would, it's a weak track. Lonesome Street is almost painfully retro and again a poor "single" or "lead song" choice.


Which would you have gone for as a lead song/single?
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby dparrott » 22 Sep 2017, 19:03

If TMW is their last, so be it, good way to end. My closure is that they made another album with Graham again. I would have been sad if TT was their last.
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Re: Did The Magic Whip give you closure?

Postby TristramShandy » 03 Oct 2017, 15:22

dparrott wrote:My closure is that they made another album with Graham again. I would have been sad if TT was their last.

Agreed. Ending with the Graxit would not have been great.
Now I don't know if TMW gives me the impression of final closure... But I definitely know that A+E does not in Graham's discography!
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