Britpop legends Blur came on the scene twenty-five years ago today, with the debut of their album Leisure on 26th August, 1991.
It was Blur’s following three albums: Modern Life is Rubbish (1993), Parklife (1994) and The Great Escape (1995) that ensured their legendary status within the Britpop genre that they helped create, but Leisure was the album that helped set their eventual success in motion.
Leisure isn’t highly regarded as one of Blur’s best albums. Even frontman Damon Albarn regards the record as one of the bands worst; but it didn’t stop ‘She’s So High’, ‘There’s No Other Way’ and ‘Sing’ becoming three of the most influential songs that Blur produced in the 1990s. ‘Sing’ went on to feature on the Trainspotting soundtrack in 1996, and Coldplay drew inspiration from the track for their song ‘Lost!’ on Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends in 2008.
Their debut didn’t land favorably with critics either. It may have been somewhat successful, but the backlash from critics led to the band quickly diminishing from the early 90s English music scene. This wasn’t helped by a failed US tour and the rising popularity of rival Britpop band Suede.
Due to the limited success of Leisure, it became the catalyst for Blur to change their image. Two years later they would release Modern Life is Rubbish which honed into the unique sound that they are now universally known for. There are remnants here and there on Leisure, but it seems more fitting within the Madchester scene of the late 80s and early 90s, rather than the Britpop scene that Blur would eventually help to create.
Leisure may not have been the success it could have been, but it gave Blur the foundation that they needed for their discography that followed to fortify and grow upon; cementing their status as the Britpop band of the 1990s.
Watch their seminal debut of ‘There’s No Other Way’ below.