Album of the Day
Released on this day in 1997, Blur's eponymous fifth studio album marked a change from the Britpop that had made the quartet stars. “I can sit at my piano and write brilliant observational pop songs all day long but you've got to move on,” noted frontman Damon Albarn; the result was a record that framed some of his most personal lyrics in the noisy U.S. indie rock then favored by guitarist Graham Coxon. Though label EMI feared the worst, the new direction proved a commercial success, topping the U.K. chart on the strength of such singles as “Beetlebum,” “On Your Own” and the much-licensed “Song 2” (the collection also became the band's biggest hit in America). Helmed by longtime producer Stephen Street, this thrilling reinvention makes BLUR endlessly listenable.