Leisure is the debut album by English alternative rock band Blur. The album was released on 26 August 1991 in the United Kingdom via Food Records, and peaked at number 7 in the UK Albums Chart. It was released in the US a month later with a different track listing. The album was certified Gold in the UK. The US version of Leisure was frontloaded with Blur's three UK singles, and the song "Sing" was replaced by the B-side "I Know" (see track listings for exact changes). The Canadian version has the same tracklisting as the UK version.
The album was released during the waning days of the Madchester period in the UK. As a result, Blur and Leisure were seen as catching the end of a trend. Also apparent is the influence of shoegazing, in tracks such as "Sing", "Repetition", "Birthday" and "She's So High". With the release of their second album Modern Life Is Rubbish in 1993, Blur would drastically reinvent themselves. Despite a generally positive critical reaction upon release, lead singer Damon Albarn has since referred to Leisure as "awful".
"Sing" was included on the Trainspotting soundtrack in 1996. The original version, "Sing (To Me)", was recorded as a demo in late 1989 under the band's former name, Seymour, and can be heard on the ultra-rare promo-only single which was released over a decade later in February 2000 and on the first of 4-disc set with rare stuff in Blur 21 box set.
Leisure received mixed reviews from the British music press. A highly enthusiastic David Cavanagh wrote in Select magazine that "The four Blur boys have guaranteed themselves a hefty leg-up in the being-taken-seriously stakes with the thrills they've carved into the grooves of 'Leisure'." He concluded that "[Leisure], in short, is one of those happy occasions when the hype is dead right."Q magazine's Paul Davies rated the album four out of five stars, and felt it fulfilled the early promise Blur showcased. "This latest bunch of floppy-fringed pop cadets in baggy clothing should consummate their burgeoning pop romance in fine style," Davies elaborated, "for Leisure is a substantially stocked treasure-chest of hit singles just waiting to happen."Alexis Petridis however, writing in Lime Lizard, stated "on the evidence of this album, they don't appear to know what they're doing and as a result make appalling mistakes all over the place", also criticising the lyrics.