Leisure (album)

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Leisure
LeisureUK.jpg
Studio album by
Released26 August 1991
RecordedMay 1990 – March 1991
Length50:13
LabelFood
Producer
Blur chronology
Leisure
(1991)
Modern Life Is Rubbish
(1993)
Singles from Leisure
  1. "She's So High"
    Released: 15 October 1990
  2. "There's No Other Way"
    Released: 15 April 1991
  3. "Bang"
    Released: 29 July 1991

Leisure is the debut studio album by the English rock band Blur, released in August 1991 by record label Food.

Content[edit]

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 a 4-disc set with rare material in the Blur 21 box set.

The cover photograph was taken in May 1954[1][2] by Charles Hewitt, for a Picture Post fashion feature on bathing hats, "Glamour in the Swim."[3]

Release[edit]

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.

Leisure peaked at number 7 in the UK Albums Chart.[4] The album was certified Gold in the UK.[citation needed]

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.[5] The album was reissued a second time, on vinyl, on August 26, 2016.[6]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[7]
Drowned In Sound8/10[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[9]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[10]
Pitchfork5.8/10[11]
Q4/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide2.5/5 stars[13]
Select5/5[14]

Leisure received mixed reviews from the British music press.[15] 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."[14] 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."[12] 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".[16]

In a 2007 interview, lead singer Damon Albarn expressed distaste for the album, describing it as "awful" and being one of the two "bad records" he has made in his career (the other being Blur album The Great Escape).[17] Albarn further expanded on the album's recording in 2014, explaining that "it wasn't a particularly happy experience" and suggested the band were too keen to please the record label by capitalising on a sound that was popular at the time.[18] The band rarely played tracks from the album live in later tours, with only the singles "There's No Other Way" and "She's So High" being frequently included in setlists. [19]

"Sing" was included on the Trainspotting soundtrack in 1996. In 2008, Coldplay announced upon the release of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends that "Sing" provided a starting point for "Lost!".[20]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree.

No.TitleProducer(s)Length
1."She's So High"
4:45
2."Bang"Stephen Street3:36
3."Slow Down"Street3:11
4."Repetition"Street5:25
5."Bad Day"Street4:23
6."Sing"Blur6:00
7."There's No Other Way"Street3:23
8."Fool"Mike Thorne3:15
9."Come Together"Street3:51
10."High Cool"Street3:37
11."Birthday"Thorne3:50
12."Wear Me Down"Thorne4:49
Total length:50:13
  • Note: The US and Japan editions of the album have different track listings.

Personnel[edit]

  • Damon Albarn – lead vocals, keyboards, production on "Sing", "Inertia" and "Mr. Briggs"
  • Graham Coxon – guitars, backing vocals, production on "Sing", "Inertia" and "Mr. Briggs"
  • Alex James – bass, production on "Sing", "Inertia" and "Mr. Briggs"
  • Dave Rowntree – drums, percussion, production on "Sing", "Inertia" and "Mr. Briggs"
  • Steve Lovell – production on "She's So High" and "I Know"
  • Steve Power – production on "She's So High" and "I Know"
  • Mike Thorne – production on "Fool", "Birthday" and "Wear Me Down"
  • Stephen Street – production on "There's No Other Way", "Bang", "Slow Down", "Repetition", "Bad Day", "High Cool" and "Come Together"

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Picture Post photographer Charles Hewitt working on a fashion feature... News Photo - Getty Images".
  2. ^ "Swimming Hats Stock Photo - Getty Images".
  3. ^ "Two models wearing ornate 'Viking' swimming caps by Kleinert.... News Photo - Getty Images".
  4. ^ a b "Blur | Full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  5. ^ Blur 21 at Blur's website
  6. ^ Pearce, Sheldon. "Blur Announce Leisure Reissue | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  7. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Leisure - Blur - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  8. ^ Gourlay, Dom (27 July 2012). "Blur: Leisure (21 reissue)". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  10. ^ Wyman, Bill (8 November 1991). "Music Review: Leisure (1991) / Blur". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Blur". Pitchfork Media.
  12. ^ a b Davies, Paul (August 1991). "Blur - Leisure". Q. Bauer Media Group.
  13. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City: Simon and Schuster. p. 89. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. rolling stone blur album guide.
  14. ^ a b Cavanagh, David (October 1991). "Blur - Leisure". Select. Emap.
  15. ^ Strong, Martin C. The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, 2003. ISBN 1-84195-335-0. pp.635–635.
  16. ^ Petridis, Alexis. "Blur - Leisure". Lime Lizard. October 1991. p. 53.
  17. ^ "Digital Spy – Albarn cusses own albums". Retrieved 11 May 2007.
  18. ^ "Damon Albarn - Guitar Center Sessions (Full Interview)". Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Setlist.FM - Blur Album Statistics". Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  20. ^ Coldplay Give Track-By-Track Tour of Viva La Vida, MTV, 9 June 2008.
  21. ^ "Billboard". 12 October 1991.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

  • Leisure at YouTube (streamed copy where licensed)