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10996156_10153603387785744_867521640637367161_n The kings of Britpop themselves return with their first album in twelve years, and their first with the whole band in sixteen. It’s called ‘The Magic Whip’ and it’s to be released on April 27th. This announcement was revealed to innumerable excited fans via an interview with BBC’s Zane Lowe. Read a full transcript of the interview here. The band recorded the album in the summer of 2013 over the course of five days in Hong Kong. Frontman Damon Albarn initially stated in 2014 that the band would never finish or release the music produced in this session, but it would seem that the tables have turned, as the first single, “Go Out,” has been released today, along with an accompanying video. Additionally, Blur will headline Hyde Park on June 20th. There has been no information on further tour dates as of yet. Perhaps the most discussion-inducing aspect of the “comeback,” though, has been the controversial album art and music video. There are two versions of ‘The Magic Whip’ artwork floating around- one with Chinese characters on the front and one without; the music video similarly features Mandarin Chinese characters and consists almost entirely of an Asian woman making ice cream. Naturally, people are upset because Blur consists entirely of white men who seem to be using these cultural aspects as a decorative theme. It could be that it correlates somehow with the Chinese New Year, especially since the album was recorded in China, but nevertheless the appropriation sits uneasily with many fans. (If you want to take it up with Blur, I’d suggest Graham- he’s finally back on Twitter.) How do you feel about the news? As always, feel free to leave a comment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp1ks7PTzng x

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