Song of the Week: Blur Return with the Sophisticated Odyssey “The Narcissist”

Julie Byrne, Aja Monet, Sailor Honeymoon, and more also make our honorable mentions

Blur to reunite in 2023 summer tours
Blur, photo by Linda Brownlee

    Song of the Week delves into the fresh songs we just can’t get out of our heads. Find these tracks and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist, and for our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, Blur show no signs of rust on “The Narcissist.”

    The last time we heard from Britpop legends Blur was in 2015. The band had just made their long-awaited comeback with The Magic Whip, their first record in 12 years, and were showcasing an increasingly contemplative, wandering, outright strange vision of Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree’s artsy pop rock. Now, with nearly another decade lost to time, the band once again returns, doubling down on the self-assured, meditative “The Narcissist.”

    Gone is the tongue-in-cheek explosiveness of “Song 2” or the disco-rocking grooves of “Girls and Boys” that brought them to the top of the charts in the ‘90s. Instead, “The Narcissist” seamlessly picks up where the previous two LPs left off – an impressive feat considering Think Tank celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this month.


    The tune is an odyssey that builds but never implodes. Albarn guides the listener through a soundscape of indie guitars, harmonized backing vocals, and a mix of programmed and live drums, and each time you think they’re about to kick on the fuzz and let it rip, they pull back, exhibiting the maturity that comes with decades of songwriting.

    Time will tell if the rest of Blur’s upcoming record, The Ballad of Darren, will continue to embrace such restrained songwriting, or if “The Narcissist” is merely a red herring. But for now, Blur has yet again proven that no matter how much time they take between releases, their songs don’t suffer one bit.

    — Jonah Krueger

    Get Blur Tickets Here

    Honorable Mentions:

    Sailor Honeymoon – “Cockroach”

    Rough around the edges, perfectly scuzzy, and endlessly fun, Sailor Honeymoon’s “Cockroach” is one of the most exciting, fully-realized debut indie rock singles to come out in a good while. Just two minutes and change, the song swings between a fuzzed-out, melodic chorus and a sparse, cheeky spoken-word verse. The result is a tune that’s worth having on repeat until whatever the Korean rockers serve up next. — J.K.