Blur Announce Their First Album In Eight Years, 'The Ballad Of Darren'

19 May 2023 | 8:50 am | Mary Varvaris

“The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention."

Photo of Blur

Photo of Blur (Reuben Bastienne-Lewis)

Overnight, Blur made the surprise announcement that they’re dropping their ninth album, The Ballad Of Darren, on 21 July via Parlophone.

The Ballad Of Darren is the iconic UK group’s first album in eight years, following 2015’s ARIA #5 album, The Magic Whip.

Blur have also shared the first single from their new album, The Narcissist, which you can check out below.

The Narcissist is a trip through beautiful melancholy music and showcases Blur at their most tender. While the verses are softer and inspire swaying crowds, the song’s chorus ("I’m going to shine a light in your eyes / You’ll probably shine it back on me / But I won’t fall this time / With godspeed I’ll heed the signs") delivers on the catharsis.

“This is an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now,” vocalist Damon Albarn said about the James Ford (Depeche Mode, Kylie Minogue, Florence + The Machine) produced album.

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.”

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Alex James continued, “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 Dave Rowntree concluded, “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.”

Today, Blur will return to where it all began – Colchester, Essex – for a performance at the local arts centre. They will then visit Eastbourne Winter Gardens on 21 May, The Halls Wolverhampton on 26 May and O2 City Hall Newcastle on 28 May. Their first-ever show at Wembley Stadium in London (8 July) sold out within minutes; a second show has been added for Sunday, 9 July.

Blur are one of the most successful British bands of the last three decades. In their time as a band, they’ve released eight albums and collected ten NME Awards, six Q Awards, five BRIT Awards and an Ivor Novello Award, and played live to thousands of devoted fans across the globe.

Blur returned to Australia in 2015 (Albarn’s other musical outfit, Gorillaz, toured here last year), and performed in Perth for the first time since the 90s. In a The Music review of the band’s show in Perth, we concluded that the band put on an “outstanding show”.

You can pre-order The Ballad Of Darren here.