Think Tank is underrated.

Discussion about the band and related projects.

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TracyJosh
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Think Tank is underrated.

Post by TracyJosh » 28 Oct 2017, 21:29

I work in a musical instrument store and just the other day when my manager was clearing out old boxes of sheet music and music books, she came across the official Think Tank sheet music book and kindly said I could have It(it had probably been there since 2003).

The next day I had off I sat down with it and an acoustic guitar and went through the songs for a couple of hours. I already knew a lot of it by ear but relished having some of the more piano based songs like Sweet Song transcribed for guitar. What really dawned on me is how incredibly timeless the songs on that album are. It really got me thinking that even amongst the community here, it really is an overlooked and underrated Blur album, even if it could be argued that it warrants different categorisation given Graham's absence. It still sounds so incredibly fresh and unique. The Morocan musicians and African and Eastern flavours and themes in the music gives the whole album a certain rustic authenticity that I honestly think makes it stand up better in 2017 than much of the rest of the back catalogue.

It always seems to be the album that I have put on at parties or in the presence of friends who otherwise don't particularly like Blur, but have always seemed to really enjoy it. There are of course a couple of stinkers on it, Crazy Beat is almost unforgivable, but other than that I think each song has a very understated, universal appeal that some of the more anglo centric, signature Blur sounding albums lack. If the album never existed and Blur released Good Song, Out of time or Caravan as a single tomorrow, it would in no way sound dated or a pastiche of what they were(like Lonesome street was maybe a bit guilty of attempting). Take the b side The Outsider, it meshes so many different types of music, there's been nothing like it since. It's such an incredibly original, unique and above all, bold sounding album. I would even go as far to say pioneering. The best comparison I read was to Bowie's Lodger, but for me, as a collection songs and properly making the eastern influences their own, Think Tank is stronger.

I also feel that Damon's want for more world based influences, particularly the eastern styles, were due to the political climate at the time and the rise of occupation of British and American militants in Middle Eastern states particularly the barbaric invasion of Iraq. It could have come across badly but I think the meshing of styles was done so authentically and with a great deal of respect that he absolutely nailed it and it's a wonderful coming together of all these great sounds when politically the places of origin for a lot of these styles of music were beginning to be torn apart. Again, it just seems so criminally overlooked for how bold the concept was and how well executed it was.


(I know I have harped on about this in other threads but the forum has gone a bit quiet of late when it comes to topics relating specifically to Blur and the songbook reignited my passion for the album so I felt the need to get this off my chest) :)

damon008
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by damon008 » 29 Oct 2017, 08:35

shoukd have really been an ep imho
but i get what your saying and agree to the most part

the ep should have been:::
ambulance
out of time
good song
caravans
sweet song
battery in you're leg
colours

i honestly think if this was the case then it would be considered top 2 or 3 of blurs work
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stephen
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by stephen » 30 Oct 2017, 10:33

For me it doesn't really work as an album, there's some great songs within the think tank sessions but there's a lot of lazy songs on the album.

The production is terrible, it sounds so bad now.
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TracyJosh
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Joined: 21 May 2016, 12:20

Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by TracyJosh » 30 Oct 2017, 12:40

Thank you for introducing me to 'Colours', Damon008. What a beautiful tune it is. I am ashamed to say I wasn't aware of it's existence until you posted that comment. It further adds to the proof that the Think Tank sessions were so strong. Adding On my way to the club and The Outsider to your EP track listing would take it up to 9 songs, thus being album length and it could have been a masterpiece in my eyes. :P
stephen wrote:For me it doesn't really work as an album, there's some great songs within the think tank sessions but there's a lot of lazy songs on the album.

The production is terrible, it sounds so bad now.
Hmm I see where you're coming from but I actually think the lazy songs are what paste it together as an overall piece with a distinct sound. There's plenty of lazy songs on 13 and Self Titled like Trailerpark, I'm just a killer for your love and Theme from Retro and I don't think a more instrumental piece like Jets is any less integral to providing an overall vibe and aesthetic to Think Tank that those do to their respective albums.

When you say the production is terrible do you mean the production or the sound quality and mastering? I think the album was produced terrifically minus Crazy Beat. There's a rustic, Lo-fi execution on Think Tank that we are seeing more and more nowadays in albums from the likes of Mac Demarco and Grizzly Bear. A real back to basics organic approach. The instruments sound little different from how they sound when you're in the room listening to them being played. The mastering of the album is questionable though. It got caught up in the noise wars of the mid noughties a bit and there is audible clipping on certain songs. Nothing a remaster wouldn't sort though...

bugman
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by bugman » 30 Oct 2017, 14:31

i still love think tank. so great songs on it. For example ,Ambulance - is better than whole TMW.
Caravan, out of time, good song, on the way - another fantastic tracks
of course if they out crazy beat, add some glad morning/morricone it would be their my second fav album

damon008
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by damon008 » 30 Oct 2017, 15:25

@tracy Josh haha no probs. its soo pretty i love it.
i think also maybe its possible we add black book to the album. i mean why not, other bands have donr things similar

@bugman i know waht you mean. but magic whip has some nice moments. do u dislike it so much?
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stephen
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by stephen » 31 Oct 2017, 11:02

TracyJosh wrote:Thank you for introducing me to 'Colours', Damon008. What a beautiful tune it is. I am ashamed to say I wasn't aware of it's existence until you posted that comment. It further adds to the proof that the Think Tank sessions were so strong. Adding On my way to the club and The Outsider to your EP track listing would take it up to 9 songs, thus being album length and it could have been a masterpiece in my eyes. :P
stephen wrote:For me it doesn't really work as an album, there's some great songs within the think tank sessions but there's a lot of lazy songs on the album.

The production is terrible, it sounds so bad now.
Hmm I see where you're coming from but I actually think the lazy songs are what paste it together as an overall piece with a distinct sound. There's plenty of lazy songs on 13 and Self Titled like Trailerpark, I'm just a killer for your love and Theme from Retro and I don't think a more instrumental piece like Jets is any less integral to providing an overall vibe and aesthetic to Think Tank that those do to their respective albums.

When you say the production is terrible do you mean the production or the sound quality and mastering? I think the album was produced terrifically minus Crazy Beat. There's a rustic, Lo-fi execution on Think Tank that we are seeing more and more nowadays in albums from the likes of Mac Demarco and Grizzly Bear. A real back to basics organic approach. The instruments sound little different from how they sound when you're in the room listening to them being played. The mastering of the album is questionable though. It got caught up in the noise wars of the mid noughties a bit and there is audible clipping on certain songs. Nothing a remaster wouldn't sort though...
Sorry yes I probably mean the sound quality / mastering. Songs like good song sound a bit tinny. I'm no music technician it just seems a little off.

Don't get me wrong though the think tank sessions are fantastic. The outsider / some glad morning / Morricone, I just think with a little bit more care and attention and maybe a bit more direction the album would have been a lot better. But maybe the innocence of the album is what makes it, it's half pieced together at the end when clearly they had all the right material.
Westway wrote:pyongyang and mirrorball are really good

stephen
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by stephen » 31 Oct 2017, 11:04

Even Don't Bomb When You Are The Bomb is a personal favorite. I would have loved to see more of that direction.
Westway wrote:pyongyang and mirrorball are really good

bugman
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by bugman » 31 Oct 2017, 11:23

damon008 wrote: @bugman i know waht you mean. but magic whip has some nice moments. do u dislike it so much?
no. i love tmw. but still this album need someting mega special, like beetlebum, like tender, like ambulance, like tial.

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anothermario
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by anothermario » 31 Oct 2017, 12:57

i never got the love for ambulance. it's good! but it's easily my least favourite opener.

not a bad album though yeah, i just listened to it and i'm always surprised by how much i do like it, even crazy beat and gene x gene (which seem to be universally hated by everyone)
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tom_cas1
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by tom_cas1 » 31 Oct 2017, 13:54

^ Not me, I like Crazy Beat and Gene By Gene. The whole album is excellent from start to finish. A great BLUR album.
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Daysleeper
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by Daysleeper » 04 Nov 2017, 08:43

I disagree, I think it is a really poor album.

I think it is badly produced- I really didn't like Hillier's production the album feels so sterile. Songs like Ambulance and Good song sounded so much better live.

Damon's lyrics are dire and half the songs sound unfinished.

Also it has the two previously mentioned songs on it (Crazy beat and Gene by Gene) which I just can't stand. My 2 least favourite Blur songs.

It's the album I listen to the least. Out of time is a classic. I really enjoy Ambulance, Good song, Caravan, Sweet song. I enjoy the vocal part of On the way to the Club but then we get one of the dullest musical outros ever. But the rest of the album I can live without. Even a song like Battery in your leg annoys me- Graham's guitar on it is brilliant, but Damon's lyrics are so weak, I just don't get any feeling from it. It builds to an unjustifiable epic ending if you know what I mean?

It had potential, but Graham was sorely missed.

metalhipslop
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by metalhipslop » 04 Nov 2017, 09:55

It's a fantastic album with fantastic songs. Ambulance has been my favourite song for a long time now and I can't see it changing. On my Way To tHe Club is another classic. It's great music. I think a lot of people let the whole graham not on the album effect their judgement...

i'm even starting to really like Crazy Beat these days
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aldamasta
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by aldamasta » 04 Nov 2017, 15:08

On My Way to the Club is insanely underrated. But I think the most underrated song on the album is Jets. I even think Gene by Gene is massively underrated.

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Caitlin
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Re: Think Tank is underrated.

Post by Caitlin » 04 Nov 2017, 23:13

My favourite Blur album, by a long stretch. Makes me feel despair and euphoria, all at once. Out Of Time is the only song I've ever heard live that made me cry.
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