Blur – The Ballad Of Darren (New Vinyl) (Limited Edition) (Blue Vinyl)
New sealed copy. Indie record store exclusive limited edition on blue coloured vinyl.
The Ballad of Darren is the ninth studio album by English rock band Blur. It was released on 21 July 2023 by Parlophone and Warner Records. It was produced by James Ford at Studio 13 in London and Devon (the first time since 2003's Think Tank to not featured the longtime producer Stephen Street). It is Blur's first album since The Magic Whip (2015), the band's shortest album and the first with a runtime under 50 minutes.
The album's lead single, "The Narcissist," premiered on Steve Lamacq's BBC Radio 6 Music show, on 18 May 2023. That same day, an animated lyric video directed by Fons Schiedon, was released on the band's YouTube channel.
The Ballad of Darren received critical acclaim and a score of 85 out of 100 on review aggregator Metacritic based on seventeen critics' reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Uncut felt that "better than simply a personal or a confessional album, The Ballad of Darren is clever in what it does and doesn't say about its creator's life", while Amanda Farah of The Quietus found the album to have "a gentler approach", describing it as "an almost-pop record with strong choruses but more ambling verses" and "a statement of where Blur are now".
Joe Goggins of The Skinny remarked that Blur "shake off" their "latter-day heaviness" on "a handsome set that sounds like four mates having fun again". Reviewing the album for Clash, Gareth James stated that the "desire to reflect on those most important to the band is immediately evident", describing opening track "The Ballad" as "gorgeous" and "Barbaric" as "one of their very best" and concluding that the album ends with "no neat resolutions" on "The Heights". Jazz Monroe of Pitchfork described the album as "meticulously polished", writing that its "songs conjure something more real than anguish: the dulling of losses, the warm aura of midlife decline, and the fading belief, with advancing years, that crisis serves to raise the curtain on your next act".
A1 The Ballad
A2 St. Charles Square
A4 Russian Strings
A5 The Everglades (For Leonard)
B1 The Narcissist
B2 Goodbye Albert
B3 Far Away Island
B5 The Heights