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Proving Myself Wrong
By Tate Blackmore
Blur: Think Tank

4.5 out of 5

With the departure of founding member and guitar whiz-kid, Graham Coxon and the subsequent addition of Norman Cook, a.k.a. Fatboy Slim, producing a number of the tracks, many feared that Think Tank would be an electronic dance fest devoid of the innovative rock Blur has given us in the past.

Embarrassingly enough, this reviewer gave into that fear and decided not to purchase the album upon its June release. And even though it shames me to think I once neglected a new album by one of my favorite bands, I'm here to make good. My fears about this album melted away during the first spin. The haunting opener, Ambulance, catches Blur at their most honest and most human, despite layers of swishing noise. One time Gorilla Damon Albarn, who amply fills in on guitar, croons, "I ain't got nothing to be scared of," and neither do we.

The layers of fuzz and electronics that were woven into 1997's self-titled album and the smirking vocals about Britain's upper/middle class from 1995's The Great Escape are absent, letting introspective lyrics, like those in the aptly named Good Song, glide over bouncy club beats. Not that Blur has completely lost their edge, though. The first single, Crazy Beat (one of the tracks produced by Cook, a.ka. Fatboy Slim) combines the Donald Duck-like voice effect of B.L.U.R.E.M.I., from 1999's 13, and the punk ferocity of Song 2 to make for one hell of a catchy Brit-rocker. It's sure to appear in a Volkswagen commercial anytime now.

Even though they have had one only major American hit, this is a band that, like Radiohead, Wilco, and Foo Fighters, have been making consistently good records for more than five years. Yes, Think Tank has silly sketches of songs, like We've Got a File on You and Jets, but listen to Good Song, Out of Time, and On the way to the Club on a clear but windy fall day, and you'll swear that they're nothing short of brilliant.

Bonus! Whooo-hooo, the top five essential Blur songs!

5. Country HouseThe Great Escape—Who knew a song about a rich, Prozac-popping businessman galloping off to his country house could be so much fun?

4. BeetlebumBlur—A slinky riff, a sassy chorus, and a whole lot of slacker attitude.

3. Girls and BoysParklife—A break-dancin love fest with a chorus so catchy yet so damn hard to keep straight.

2. Coffee and TV13—Clean and velvety smooth, it's the best post-break up song that will make your red-eyed, 3 a.m. misery feel so good.

1. Tender13—An anthem that hasn't felt this illuminating since You Can't Always Get What You Want, and admit it, you've tried to imitate the deep-voiced chorus using a hairbrush as a microphone at least once. Okay, maybe that's just me.

You can order Think Tank from

Article ©2004

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