Less than 6 months since Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree first came back together at Damon’s studio in West London to discuss the possibility of recording a new blur album, the band’s highly-anticipated new studio album ‘The Ballad of Darren’ is released today on Parlophone.
STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE
‘The Ballad of Darren’ is blur’s ninth studio album – their first in 8 years and produced by James Ford – comprising 10 new tracks recorded at Studio 13 in London and Devon in spring this year. The May 18th album announcement came as a huge surprise to fans, coinciding with a tiny yet epic show at Colchester Arts Centre and the release of a brand new track “The Narcissist“, as well as the reveal of an already iconic album cover featuring an image by celebrated British photographer Martin Parr CBE which has put Scotland’s Gourock Outdoor Pool well and truly on the map.
The release of ‘The Ballad of Darren’ follows a triumphant weekend of music and joy at Wembley Stadium on 8th and 9th July, two extraordinary and hugely emotional shows which captured “…a sense of momentousness [Financial Times ★★★★★]” and “…fizzed with the vibrant energy of a band in their prime [Evening Standard ★★★★★].
Next week sees the band back on stage in London for something completely different: a very special global performance of the new album, live streamed via Driift from London’s Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on Tuesday 25th July 2023 at 9pm BST. Titled ‘blur present The Ballad of Darren’, the performance will be the first and only time the band will play the complete album live from start to finish, allowing fans around the world to experience the new record together as part of an intimate one-off music event. Tickets and information here.
About The Ballad of Darren
blur will release their first album in 8 years, titled ‘The Ballad of Darren’ and comprising 10 new tracks, on 21st July on Parlophone. Produced by James Ford and recorded at Studio 13, London and Devon, ‘The Ballad of Darren’ is the band’s ninth studio album, their first since the chart-topping ‘The Magic Whip’ in 2015, with artwork featuring an image by British photographer Martin Parr.
‘The Ballad of Darren’ track listing is: “The Ballad”, “St Charles Square”, “Barbaric”, “Russian Strings”, “The Everglades (For Leonard)”, “The Narcissist”, “Goodbye Albert”, “Far Away Island”, “Avalon” and “The Heights”.
‘The Ballad of Darren’ will be available as a Digital Download & Stream (10 tracks as above); Standard CD (10 tracks) and Deluxe CD (12 tracks, w. expanded packaging), Standard Vinyl LP – 12” heavyweight black vinyl; and – exclusive to blur.co.uk – Deluxe Vinyl pressed on 12″ clear vinyl with black swirls, in a gatefold sleeve, with poster, bonus 7” vinyl, album CD (12 tracks) and integrated booklet, including exclusive handwritten notes, sketches and lyrics; and Cassette (10 tracks).
* * * *
Since announcing their arrival with debut album Leisure in 1991, blur went on to revolutionise the sound of English popular music with six successive UK #1 albums ‘Parklife’ (1994), ‘The Great Escape’ (1995), ‘Blur’ (1997), ’13’ (1999), ‘Think Tank’ (2003) and ‘The Magic Whip’ (2015) and a string of Top 10 singles, including two No 1s with “Country House” and “Beetlebum”, helping to propel the band to mass popularity at home and abroad. One of the biggest British bands of the last three decades, blur have released eight studio albums and collected ten NME Awards, six Q Awards, five BRIT Awards and an Ivor Novello Award, and played live to thousands of devoted fans across the globe. The band’s new studio album titled ‘The Ballad of Darren’ will be released on 21st July 2023.
Colchester is the hometown of blur band members Damon Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon and drummer Dave Rowntree, with Damon and Graham first meeting as teenagers at Stanway School. Graham later introduced Dave to both Damon and bassist Alex James. The band’s debut album ‘Leisure’ was released in 1991.
BLUR – NEW ALBUM: ‘THE BALLAD OF DARREN’
STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE
FOR MORE INFORMATION
* * * *
Praise for ‘The Ballad of Darren’
“Here is an album that captures the very essence of Blur’s brilliance, but injects it with a contemporary twist. It’s a joy to have them back.”
ROLLING STONE UK ★★★★
“The band’s joyous reunion only gets more emotional with this tear-jerking, soaring epic. Their brilliance continues…”
“There’s a lovely graceful ease to The Ballad of Darren… Blur simply showing what they do best.”
“The Britpop titans are in a reflective mood… they’ve peaked again with this one.” RECORD COLLECTOR ★★★★
“There hasn’t really been a Blur album like this before, with grace and tranquility to the fore, an ease to their unity… It’s a worthy addition to their back catalogue.” CLASSIC POP ★★★★
“A wonderful surprise album whose existence in 2023 actually makes perfect sense.” DIY ★★★★
“It’s another stellar entry in the discography of one of Britpop’s finest acts.”
THE UPCOMING ★★★★★