The Magic Whip
Blur - The Magic Whip
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2015 Ratings: #127 / 742
Year End Rank: #30
User Score
Based on 271 ratings
2015 Ratings: #218
April 27, 2015 / Release Date
LP / Format
Parlophone / Label
Stephen Street / Producer / Website
Your Review


The Line of Best Fit

Like I said, don’t call it a comeback, abandon any knee-jerk sense of surprise, it’s Blur at the top of their game, as they had been, as they should have always been, as they deserve to be.

Pretty Much Amazing

This is more than a nostalgic retread. The Magic Whip continues along the weird and winding path first trod by Blur’s two previous, and most complex, LPs. 

Britpop’s giants are back, and they sound surprisingly the way we had hoped they would: melodic, contemplative and content as a single unit.

No, they’ve not come back to rehash the hits. But on that ninth listen, with the lights off, they’re a band still able to find new emotional triggers their contemporaries have yet to discover. Their magic remains as strong as ever.

This is a reunited band making music to rival their very best. There’s airmiles aplenty in these Essex Dogs yet.

The Magic Whip succeeds splendidly in coming across as a comeback album that hasn’t been overthought, flashing a nonchalant dare to any prospective Oasis reunion project.

Drowned in Sound
It is an almost endlessly intriguing record, full of mad ideas, strange microhooks and an air of rich elegy that just works.

It’s up there with Blur’s best albums, and a reminder of just how well the band reconcile their divergent ideas.

Time Out London
Some of us have come a long way with this great, perhaps even quintessential London band. Against the odds, ‘The Magic Whip’ shows there’s more distance left to run.

That they were able to put another six years of touring and botched recording sessions behind them and put out this long-gestating, bizarre little Blur album is a testament to the band’s separate creative energies, pooled back into one. The Magic Whip sounds like what these guys were always meant to do.

There are hooks, there are songs -- songs that sink their hooks in slowly and fully, registering in the subconscious without notice -- but it's Blur claiming their status as an art-pop band, favoring texture and mood over wit and flash.
Rolling Stone

Blur have returned with inspiration to spare.


There’s never been a Blur record that’s flowed as well as Magic Whip; you might have to go all the way back to Modern Life Is Rubbish to find one that even comes close.


On The Magic Whip, it's clear that the band has benefitted from some time apart.


This sense of duty might go some way to explaining the less destructive and far more unifying approach to these songs; add in Stephen Street ... and you get the band’s most natural sounding album in over twenty years.


The Magic Whip is a fascinating snapshot of a group coming to personal and professional crossroads in a strange city where modern living leads to bewilderment and alienation.

The Guardian

Musically, they don’t sound like a band taking a final curtain call. They sound like a band filled with ideas and potential new directions, who have plenty left to do together, if they choose.


For a collection with an eye on the setting sun and the slow decline, it’s a fine late flowering. If they’ve made it, finally, to the end, there’s nothing to regret here.

NOW Magazine

Blur's first album in 16 years to feature the original lineup does the right amount of looking inward and outward, forward and backward.

Slant Magazine

The Magic Whip isn't a triumphant return of a Britpop champion; instead, it's a mature, measured document from a band that's never rested on its laurels.


All The Magic Whip tries to be is nothing more than the band in their purest form, deprived of all commercial considerations so that their eccentricities are all that remains.


In the moments when The Magic Whip is most interested in sounding like a Blur album, it is perhaps too interested.

No Ripcord

Even with its faults, The Magic Whip is remarkably cohesive; not a single track is superfluous, flippant, or jarring. While Blur may not have the perceptible onerousness for each other that they did fifteen years ago, they certainly have the zeal.

The Needle Drop

Britpop heavyweights Blur make an enjoyable and varied return with The Magic Whip.

A.V. Club

The key to embracing Blur in 2015 is remembering it’s not the fresh-faced Britpop band with dreams of arch world domination, but a group who convene when they feel they have something to say and musical ideas worthy of sharing. In that respect, The Magic Whip is more successful than not.

Under The Radar

The Magic Whip is far from perfect and it's far from the best album by a band whose greatest strength I've always considered to be their hits. It has to count as a success though, because Blur sound like a band from 2015 rather than 1995.

The Skinny
It's when the riffs seem plucked straight from the annals of 1997 that Blur seem to remember how to have fun
Consequence of Sound

When Blur gets restless, unspooling new tricks and tempos, The Magic Whip feels emphatic. If it rocks, it fits perfectly in a live setting, easy to place among their best-ofs. But when it slumps, it really crumbles.

May 2, 2015
Blur's new album is by no means a faint light in the band's longtime career. Many of these compositions sound really good on their own, and the album actually sounds like an album too, in the overall context. The album as whole is filled with great instrumentation and has surprising moments too, like Ice Cream Man, Terracotta Heart and Go Out, that display both emotion and songwriting skills from Albarn. It also has its flaws, and the final moments on the record sound a little bit repetitive ... read more
May 3, 2015
They're not bringing anything new to the table, which makes me wonder why they're together again in the first place. Even so, this is a pleasant enough listen with some really cool tracks.
May 3, 2015
It may seem strange, but this is without a doubt my favorite Blur record to date, and i have to say, one of my favorite albums of the year so far.
After a 16 year absence, Blur is indeed back. The album really sums up Albarn for me, it is al about taking risks and making the music that feels right. I think the thing that have impressed me the most about "The Magic Whip" is how harmonic and natural it feels. You just get the feeling that this album was fun to make, and that shines ... read more
Dec 8, 2017
Blur back with a bang. Awesome album, possibly their best.

1. Lonesome Street - 9.5
2. New World Towers - 7.5
3. Go Out - 9
4. Ice Cream Man - 7.5
5. Thought I Was A Spaceman - 7
6. I Broadcast - 8
7. My Terracotta Heart - 8.5
8. There Are Too Many Of Us - 10
9. Ghost Ship - 10
10. Pyongyang - 8.5
11. Ong Ong - 9
12. Mirrorball - 8

102.5/120 85/100

Added on: February 19, 2015