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
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
- one of the top 1000 albums of all time
- BBC Top 100 Albums
- Brits Award for Best British Album
- Q Magazine’s Top 100 Albums of All Time
- one of the top 100 albums of the 1990s
Resources and Related Links:
- DMDB page for Parklife
- Blur’s DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry
- AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
- PR Paul Roland (2001). CD Guide to Pop & Rock. B.T. Batsford LTD: London. Page 32.
- TB Thunder Bay (2005). Albums: The Stories Behind 50 Years of Great Recordings. Thunder Bay Press; San Diego, CA. Page 273.