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Monday, April 25, 1994

Blur released Parklife: April 25, 1994

Originally posted April 25, 2012.

In the summer after Parklife was released, Britpop reached a feverish peak with the Blur vs. Oasis battle. The only the thing the bands truly shared, “apart from their public loathing of each other, was their preoccupation with the sixties, with the former attempting to re-write the entire Beatles back catalogue while Blur revived the archetypical English whimsy and art school artifice of The Kinks.” PR

However, “Blur’s admiration of The Kinks isn’t as blatant as their rivals’ fixation for The Fab Four.” PR While previous album “Modern Life Is Rubbish established Blur as the heir to the archly British pop of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and the Jam” AMG, Parklife “revealed the depth of that transformation” AMG by serving up “more eccentricity and more focused evocations of everyday life than Oasis’s work.” TB “The ghost of Ray Davies can be heard on the character sketch Tracy Jacks and there are echoes of the similarly styled Small Faces in the title track,” PR a “mod anthem” AMG in which Phil Daniels, the star of Quadrophenia, “lends his broadest ‘sarf London’ accent.” PR

Parklife

However, the band doesn’t just utilize “Ray Davies’ seriocomic social commentary” AMG; “Parklife runs through the entire history of post-British Invasion Britpop in the course of 16 songs, touching on psychedelia, synth pop, disco, punk, and music hall along the way.” AMG “From the fairground-style dembellishments and novelty instrumentation to the flirtations with punk and psych-pop, Parklife constantly surprises with its diversity of material and infectious good humour.” PR “Damon Albarn even manages a fair stab at Syd Barrett on Far Out.” PR

Indeed, Albarn “intended these songs to form a sketch of British life in the mid-‘90s, and it’s startling how close he came to his goal; not only did the bouncy, disco-fied Girls & Boys and singalong chant Parklife become anthems in the U.K., but they inaugurated a new era of Britpop and lad culture, where British youth celebrated their country and traditions.” AMG However, it was still “a thoroughly modern record in that it bends genres and is self-referential.” AMG “And, by tying the past and the present together, Blur articulated the mid-‘90s zeitgeist and produced an epoch-defining record.” AMG

Girls and Boys


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Tuesday, April 5, 1994

Kurt Cobain commited suicide: April 5, 1994

Originally posted April 5, 2012.

image courtest of billboard.com

On August 8, 1994, an electrician found Kurt Cobain’s body at his home in a room above the garage. He was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A gun and suicide note were nearby. The coroner determined the 27-year-old rock singer/songwriter had died on April 5.

Nirvana, the band Cobain fronted, attained global fame in 1991-92 with Nevermind, a #1 album which achieved sales of 10 million in the U.S. and more than 20 million worldwide. It ranks in the top 10 albums of all time. That album’s lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, is also considered a landmark in music history, ranking in the top ten of the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.

The huge success of that album and song put Nirvana at the forefront of the grunge movement. Considered the most vital music genre to come about in years, Cobain was heralded as its John Lennon – the voice of a generation of dissatisfied teens and young adults in their twenties.

Cobain was tortured by a chronic stomach ailment, heroin abuse, depression. In death, he became – some say intentionally – a member of “the 27 club,” a group of musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and later Amy Winehouse, who all died at age 27. Quoting from a Neil Young song in his suicide note, he said it was “better to burn out than to fade away” (read note here), an indication of his desire to go out on top.

CNN’s repot on Cobain’s death

NBC’s report on Cobain’s death


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