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Hear Blur’s First New Song in Eight Years, ‘The Narcissist’

On “The Narcissist,” Blur’s first new song in eight years, Damon Albarn sings about looking in the mirror and seeing a Pierrot (a commedia dell’arte clown) looking back at him as he attempts to rebuild his ego. “If you see darkness look away,” he sings at one point, before the upbeat chorus kicks in: “I’m going to shine a light in your eyes/You will probably shine it back on me/But I won’t fall this time.” The track is the first taste of the band’s upcoming album, The Ballad of Darren, out July 21.

The band worked with producer James Ford (Depeche Mode, Albarn’s Gorillaz) on the album in London and Devon, U.K. It will be available digitally and on CD and vinyl. The band will also put out a deluxe edition of the CD with two bonus tracks, “The Swan” and “The Rabbi.” There are also cassette and deluxe vinyl options on the band’s website.

“This is an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now,” Albarn said in a statement.

“The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention,” guitarist Graham Coxon added. “Sometimes just a riff doesn’t do the job.”

“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,” bassist Alex James said.

“It always feels very natural to make music together,” drummer Dave Rowntree said. “With every record we do, the process reveals something new and we develop as a band. We don’t take that for granted.”

The quartet is marking the album announcement on Friday with a performance in the band’s hometown of Colchester, U.K. The concert will take place at the Colchester Arts Centre, which kicks off a short run of U.K. dates. The band will be touring across Europe this summer.


The Ballad of Darren track list:

1. “The Ballad”
2. “St. “Charles Square”
3. “Barbaric”
4. “Russian Strings”
5. “The Everglades (For Leonard)”
6. “The Narcissist”
7. “Goodbye Albert”
8. “Far Away Island”
9. “Avalon”
10. “The Heights”

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