Blur, 13 (Special Edition)
One of Blur's brightest moments
There's an ambition to 13 which suggested that Blur — still living down their part in the rise and fall of "Britpop" — was finally beginning to regain their identity as a band. Just in time for their dissolution, as it was. 13 was the last album that would feature the contributions of Graham Coxon, whose modest pop gem, "Coffee and TV," remains one of Blur's brightest moments. Thanks partly to William Orbit, who took over from longtime producer Stephen Street, a sense of exploration courses through tracks like the ethereal "Trimm Trabb" and "Mellow Song," while "1992" came across like an unhinged version of their Leisure favorite "Sing." Deep into a career built on studying the whims and habits of others, Albarn scrutinized his own failed relationship with longtime girlfriend Justine Frischmann of Elastica for two of Blur's greatest-ever moments. Album opener "Tender" was a staggering, soulful number featuring heartening interplay between Albarn and Coxon — a last gasp at two relationships. The heartbreaker, though, was the deflated future-blues of "No Distance Left to Run," an unafraid admission of total defeat that lingers longer than its three-and-a-half minutes.