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Blur announce surprise ninth album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’, share first single

Blur, 2023. (Picture: Reuben Bastienne-Lewis)
Blur, 2023. (Picture: Reuben Bastienne-Lewis)

Blur have announced their surprise new album The Ballad Of Darren, as well as sharing the first single ‘The Narcissist’.

Set for release on July 21 via Parlophone, the announcement comes as the Britpop icons prepare to kick off their return with an intimate hometown show at Colchester Arts Centre tomorrow evening, marking the start of a summer run that will also take in two dates at the legendary Wembley Stadium.

Their ninth album was produced by James Ford and recorded in Devon and London. Describing the record’s inception, the group explained how it saw them reflecting on their lengthy relationships with each other.

Frontman Damon Albarn says it is “an aftershock record” loaded with “reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now”, while guitarist Graham Coxon added: “The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention. Sometimes just a riff doesn’t do the job.”

Bassist Alex James also explained that “for any long term relationship to last with any meaning you have to be able to surprise each other somehow and somehow we all continue to do that”, while drummer Dave Rowntree said the band found that “it always feels very natural to make music together”.

“With every record we do, the process reveals something new and we develop as a band. We don’t take that for granted,” he added.

Check out the album track-listing in full below.

The tracklist for ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ is:

‘The Ballad’
‘St Charles Square’
‘Barbaric’
‘Russian Strings’
‘The Everglades (For Leonard)’
‘The Narcissist’
‘Goodbye Albert’
‘Far Away Island’
‘Avalon’
‘The Heights’