Blur - Leisure
Oft remembered as a false start before Blur's eventual ascension to the position of Britpop spokesmen, 1991's Leisure belongs to a very different age. Much of it is fairly lightweight: a naive dance-rock hybrid, and not a million miles away from EMF. Leisure certainly has its moments, though, and when they come, they're quietly stunning: "Sing" (later revived for the Trainspotting soundtrack) is a crystalline clatter, guided through huge psychedelic rain clouds by Alex James' wandering bass; even today, it sounds one of Blur's most beautiful moments. "There's No Other Way" is equally deserving of note; powered by a titanic baggy beat, it stands as one of the greatest indie disco floor-fillers of the 1990s. Despite its faults, Leisure is an occasionally great album; it's questionable, though, that many of Blur's "Song 2" converts would even recognise it as the same band.