Let’s get ready to rumble.
On the most recent episode of the Mild Mannered Army Podcast, Nick Amies and I discussed the merits of the third part of Blur’s “Life” trilogy; “The Great Escape”. This followed on from our previous discussion to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the *greatest album of the nineties, “Parklife”. Over the course of these two discussions something very unusual happened…we realised that, in truth, “The Great Escape” is a much better album than “Parklife”.
Now just wait a minute.
Nobody is saying that “Parklife” isn’t a great album.
Nobody is saying that “The Great Escape” is without flaw.
It has plenty of flaws.
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
That’s not it.
The point is that if you can forget about the way you felt when “Parklife” arrived and the seismic impact it had on popular culture and just address it as an album that you too will come to the same conclusion…”The Great Escape” is better.
Let’s break it down.
We will go head to head in order…the winning track is in bold.
Stereotypes vs Girls and Boys
Nobody liked “Girls and Boys” when they first heard it.
Then we all grew to love it.
It also had a great cover.
But “Stereotypes” is a blast from first listen to last listen.
Lyrically it also manages to stretch itself beyond repeating “girls and boys” over and over again.
Country House vs Tracy Jacks
Neither is very good but one is criminally bad.
There is little to be gained by dwelling on this.
Best Days vs End of a Century
“End of a Century” is a lovely song, one of the finest on “Parklife”.
“Best Days” is lovelier and finer.
Charmless Man vs Parklife
This is very difficult.
Do I have to choose?
Fade Away vs Bank Holiday
If this was my partner in crime, Mr Amies, then “Bank Holiday” would win out.
But he’s not here.
So it’s “Fade Away”…just.
Top Man vs Badhead
Remember when I told you this wasn’t about saying “Parklife” was bad?
I meant it.
“Badhead” is about as good it gets for any band.
The Universal vs Far Out
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Don’t be daft.
Mr Robinson’s Quango vs To The End
Please see my previous response.
He Thought of Cars vs London Loves
Tomorrow I might have changed my mind but right now “He Thought of Cars” edges it.
It Could Be You vs Trouble In The Message Centre
I might be a lone voice here but I’m picking “It Could Be You”.
Not just to bolster my original position but because I genuinely prefer it.
Ernold Same vs Clover Over Dover
I really wanted to pick “Ernold Same” just to irritate people.
But I am an honest and trustworthy sort…usually…so “Clover Over Dover” it is.
Globe Alone vs Magic America
There is something really lovely about “Magic America” and it is one of my favourite Blur songs but there is something so irritatingly, infectiously, infuriatingly, catchy about “Globe Alone” that it edges it.
Dan Abnormal vs Jubilee
Further evidence of how good both albums are.
I wish I hadn’t started this now.
First thing that comes into my mind…JUBILEE.
Entertain Me vs This Is A Low
Come on, what else could I do?
Excluding the instrumentals that only leaves “Yuko and Hiro” which, I am sure we all agree, is a heartbreaking work of staggering beauty and genius and which would improve any album by any band in the history of recorded music.
So where does that leave us?
Parklife 6 vs 8 The Great Escape.
Close, so very close, but, undeniably, one album edges the other.
I feel good that I can provide a definitive answer to the question of which album was better after all these years.
You are all very welcome.