Blur’s Damon Albarn: ‘Brexit has made the UK more remote’ | ENT and Art News

Blur’s new album, The Ballad of Darren, is their first since 2015 and the band’s ninth album overall. The band talk to Sky News about their return.

Sat 20 May 2023 11:53 UK

It’s been 30 years since Blur’s bolshy brand of pop set for the 1990s – a cultural and musical moment known as Cool Britannia.

Today band leader Damon Albarn thinks British isolation is definitely not cool.

In government, he said, “there are too many people who have been irreparably tainted by Brexit and have done the country no favours.

“And in fact they have made it more remote, and I think have reduced us a bit,” he told Sky News.

According to Albarn, Brexit “certainly made it harder to travel, but it fed into that whole narrative about the value of art and creativity, and it’s diminished.

“Brexit certainly hasn’t helped it.”

Blur’s new album, The Ballad of Darren, is their first since 2015 and the band’s ninth album overall.

It will be released in July, with first single The Narcissist releasing this week.

It sounds like someone looking back – and clearly like a Blur record.

Damon Albarn during the heyday of Blur in 1997. Pic: AP

Blur formed in 1988 – but it was not until a few years later that they rose to international fame with successful albums such as Modern Life Is Rubbish and then Parklife in 1993.

In their youth, their battle with Oasis for No. 1 was marketing and tabloid heaven – their music was the soundtrack of a generation.

Entire formats have come and gone since then – and three decades have passed since their breakthrough album.

They can afford some middle age perspective.

“Thirty years ago we didn’t have the Internet,” notes Albarn.

“Thirty years ago people didn’t even imagine social media… Thirty years ago it was very different politically… Thirty years ago people weren’t bothered about climate change…”

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So why set a new record now?

“It’s a good question, maybe when people hear it they’ll say the exact same thing, why did they bother making any more music,” Albarn said.

Guitarist Graham Coxon said: “It’s nobody’s business really, it’s what you do if you ever feel the need to make music, or be creative in any way.

“It’s nobody’s business.”

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