blur will release their first album in 8 years, titled The Ballad of Darren and comprising 10 new tracks, on 21st July on Parlophone. The first track, ‘The Narcissist’ is out now, watch the visualiser below.
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.
Damon Albarn said – “This is an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now.”
Graham Coxon said – “The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention. Sometimes just a riff doesn’t do the job.”
Alex James said – “For any long term relationship to last with any meaning you have to be able to surprise each other somehow and somehow we all continue to do that.”
Dave Rowntree said – “It always feels very natural to make music together. With every record we do, the process reveals something new and we develop as a band. We don’t take that for granted.”
Today’s surprise announcement comes ahead of the band’s return to the place where it all began – Colchester, Essex*– for their first-ever performance at local landmark Colchester Arts Centre tomorrow, marking the start of a short run of warm-up performances, which will see the blur visit Eastbourne Winter Gardens on 21st May, The Halls Wolverhampton on 26th May and O2 City Hall Newcastle on 28th May.
These warm-up dates are kicking off a summer of highly-anticipated live shows, which will bring Alex James, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon and Dave Rowntree together again to perform their iconic and much-loved songs across Europe over the coming months. The band’s first-ever show at London’s Wembley Stadium on Saturday, 8th July, sold out in minutes – with a second Wembley Stadium show added for Sunday, 9th July.
The complete tracklisting for The Ballad of Darren is as follows:
St Charles Square
The Everglades (For Leonard)
Far Away Island
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).
UK LIVE DATES
Warm Up Shows
19 May – Colchester Arts Centre – SOLD OUT
21 May – Eastbourne Winter Gardens – SOLD OUT
26 May – Wolverhampton The Halls – SOLD OUT
28 May – Newcastle O2 City Hall – SOLD OUT
8 July – Wembley Stadium – SOLD OUT
9 July – Wembley Stadium – Remaining Tickets
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