Modern Life is Rubbish is Not Rubbish After All

I disliked the sophomore Blur album first time I heard it and dismissed it until now. Did I ever miss out!

By Ryan McGreal

Posted May 21, 2024 in Blog (Last Updated May 21, 2024)

In the early 1990s, there was a record store in Westdale on King West near Newton where you could actually listen to a CD before choosing to buy it.

When the second Blur album, Modern Life is Rubbish, came out, I rushed to the store to check it out - and I hated it. I was expecting another baggy tour-de-force like Leisure, but instead I got something sounding like mid-career Kinks and I was put off.

Modern Life is Rubbish

So I didn’t buy it. Of course, I came back into the fold with Parklife, and have remained a Blur fan ever since. But for whatever reason I never circled back to Modern Life.

Until now. I’ve been listening to it all weekend and I honestly don’t know what was wrong with me. The album is delightful!

It’s a rich serving of proto-Britpop with all the hallmarks that would characterize the Blur sound for the rest of the decade: the zany mishmash of British Invasion, post-punk and Baroque chamber music, the lush harmonies, elaborate melodies and chord progressions, the playful and dissonant guitar work, the quirky syncopated rhythms, the cheeky observational lyrics - a fully realized, coherent expression of a discrete musical worldview.

So to Modern Life is Rubbish, I offer my apologies for having dismissed you out of haste and distorted expectations, and I look forward to continuing to try and make up for lost time.