The original version of "Sing", entitled "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 material in the Blur 21 box set.
The cover photograph was taken in May 1954 by Charles Hewitt, for a Picture Post fashion feature on bathing hats, "Glamour In The Swim."
The album was released on 26 August 1991 in the United Kingdom by record label Food. It was released in the US a month later with a different track listing: this version is frontloaded with Blur's three UK singles, and the song "Sing" was replaced by "I Know", previously an A-side with "She's So High" (see track listings for exact changes). The Canadian version has the same track listing as the UK version.
As part of the album's 21st anniversary, Leisure was remastered and reissued along with the band's other studio albums on 30 July 2012. The album was reissued a second time, on vinyl, on August 26, 2016.
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, stated that "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". He also described the lyrics as "bad".