this is my entry for Bryke Day, which I guess is officially September 1st (according to a post I saw). anyway, i realize today is not September 1st, but i wanted to post this regardless. i’m really thankful for Avatar not only because it was—and remains—entertaining, but also because it’s inspired me and motivated me to hone my skills in both drawing and storytelling.
haha so this’ll probably get six notes and bryke (or the rest of the amazing team) will never see it, but whatever. it was fun to make and good practice for comic-style narrations, which i don’t do as often as i’d like.
“The suburbs they are sleeping
But he’s dressing up tonight
She likes a man in uniform
He likes to wear it tight.
They’re on the lovers’ sofa
They’re on the patio
And when the fun is over
Watch themselves on video”
History shifts towards and away from The Great Escape, but I think it’s getting proper recognition. Underrated album, even by (or especially by) the band themselves.
Funny side note to all this is that whether or not Blur are reimagining the comeback, it seems like America is reimagining Blur. I remember when I first went off to college in 2000, and started to really start the path towards music elitism. Pitchfork, for all the blustery criticism it received, was a thousand times more interesting then. I loved the gimmick, in-character reviews and the sheer disregard for serene, even-keeled analysis. Brent Dicresenzo represented everything people hated and/or adored about the early years of Pitchfork, but what people tend to forget is that he was an immense Blur supporter. He ranked Parklife his #1 album of the 90’s, after all. Outside of him, though, it was hard to find anyone else that rabidly enamored with the band. In the past thee years, things have completely shifted. It seems like Blur are getting the recognition deprived from them during their heyday. That so many American blogs and outlets reported Under the Westway/The Puritan, and with such glee, is a remarkable sea change that I can’t exactly account for; did Blur fans grow up and start vocalizing their devotion, or did the internet simply provide the balance missing from the Britpop War (when MTV covered only one side of the story)?
The Puritan seems to have been granted instant second-class status through it’s coupling with Under the Westway, but I find The Puritan to be charming and classic almost-punk Blur. Every album they made has the one punky song, whether it be Bank Holiday or B.L.U.R.E.M.I. or Chinese Bombs… just another side of Blur we can feel nostalgic about this summer.
I also love how this feels deliberately anthemic, as if Damon wanted to show the World that they are not an accidental football anthem band but one that could be nothing but. Granted, they’re the only band in history that has had Graham Coxon to make it possible, but still… I consider The Puritan to be as much a triumph as Under the Westway (which, for all the comparisons to other Blur songs I’ve read, seems to me to be, quite brilliantly, a more straightforward Strange News from Another Star).
And so it has passed: after two years, we finally get songs # 2 & 3 from the second phase of the Greatest Band of This or Any Other Generation.
Funny side note: as they release this new single, I am living in Groningen, a respectably sized city in the Northern Netherlands. The last time I lived in Groningen was the Winter of 2010, when they released “Fool’s Day” (which was, for all purposes, their best song since 13 and easily one of the best of 2010). This can’t be a coincidence. In fact, I’m spending most of my time now trying to figure out a way to postpone my fiancee’s immigration to the States so I can keep visiting Groningen. If I manage to find the balance between getting new Blur songs and completely pissing her off, maybe we will get a new album.
But for now, we have two fresh songs that offer very authentic representations of at least two sides of Blur. Yet the reaction to the songs is nearly as interesting as their existence; most reports I’ve read seem to take for granted how brilliant the single is (and it is, to an alarming degree), and focus more fawningly over Blur’s method of drawing us in. They’ve made us increasingly frothy-mouthed over the grand tour, or album, or whatever we’re waiting for them to announce… the resurrection of Blur’s status, historically, has skyrocketed, but we’re ensnared in the prospects of the present.
It’s actually been three years now since we’ve began the game of guessing when they will be “officially” reunited. All they’ve done in that time is release two singles, go on a massive tour of England, headline Glastonbury, release a retrospective documentary, re-release their entire discography, and headline the 2012 Olympic Show in Hyde Park. In between those things, they’ve played random shows in various configurations. At this point, it’s not a question about when they are going to reunite… it’s a question about when we are going to realize that this is, in fact, the new Blur.
And, without question, it’s also time to embrace such a thing.
Back when the Blur reunion was in its infancy, Thom Yorke sent quivering ripples through the spastic Radiohead fandom when he declared the concept of the album, the longform record, to be “a drag.” Instead, the band would instead release a steady stream of singles and Eps. For a band defined by the LP, even one that has arguably compiled the greatest collections of b-sides ever produced, it was sacrilege. History has also shown it to be total hogwash. In fact, they did the exact opposite: they released an LP with no singles.
But you can be assured Damon Albarn took notice.
So perhaps, as we pine for the album, the monolithic and enduring concept that solidifies everything in the music world, Blur actually know what they are doing after all. And obviously a single every two years is a bit too sparse, but if they are willing to simply release material whenever they want, tour every so often, and continue to release albums like The Spinning Top and Rocket Juice and the Moon in their spare time, do we need an official reunion?
I hate how General Iroh has the same voice actor as Zuko. Yeah, he is probably the son of Zuko, and yeah, he is a great actor, but really? They couldn’t have been bothered to find a different actor.
The fandom was waiting for this moment since Dante announced it back in 2010 and now…it’s just not cool.
“Ehhh, the casting directors are lazy.”
Lord save me from this insanity.
I will do nothing of the sort. You’ve sentenced yourself to this purgatory, so YOU keep entertaining me with it.
Lost in the white noise of Makorra and what I’m sure will be a loud chorus of either “boring!” or “rushed!” or whatever fruitless nonsense people shout when they don’t know how to actually criticize something… Amon’s a great character. A great character.
At face value, it’s pretty early to have Amon give the exposition of his empathetic backstory, but looking at what he said, and what he did, I believe they’ve set him up to be a really captivating unreliable narrator. His backstory was generic, the typical “Firebenders took my mama” story. Likewise, he took someone’s bending away without any sort of spiritual evidence or rigor. Even though, he claims, the Spirit World itself bestowed upon him this gift…
Which is a pretty awesome claim to make. He’s using the Spirit World against the Avatar now, something only the Avatar can verify… and she just happens to be the least spiritual Avatar in generations. It would make sense that he’s “saving her for last” simply because he has no other choice.
But beyond that, they are completely embracing the absurdity of Amon’s claims; what he is doing does not make sense and it should not make sense. I love how instead of generating mystery by withholding information, like they did with Ozai, Mike & Bryan have actually created more mystery by giving us all of the information up front. There’s so much to unpack with this guy, it’s a shame it’ll all be over in two months.
In their stories, all their bending problems are ‘cuz of firebenders! Wouldn’t it be sick if the first series was fire benders against everyone else, and sequel is about everyone else against firebenders? Why take it all on everyone, Amon?
That is a great point. Seems like when the world falls out of balance, Firebenders go bonkers.