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‘Tender’: Blur vs. Monaco

How could a song called ‘Tender’ be anything but heartbreaking? Both of these have lyrics poignant with soul-baring tenderness, though the music takes us beyond dejection dirges into forlorn electropop and gospel. Which gets your vote as the more moving tune?

When New Order went on hiatus after 1993’s Republic, bassist Peter Hook dragged the group’s sound to his new side project, Monaco. Their music was a bit like melodic late-’80s electronica in the vein of Echo and the Bunnymen, and it was certainly an extension of ’90’s New Order. The synths and vocals, including a lovely ethereal female voice, is layered to great effect.

But can Monaco’s perfectly nice pop compare to one of Blur’s most beloved songs? Blur’s ‘Tender’ is almost like a spiritual experience, made all the more immaculate by its church choir chorus. Graham Coxon’s reedy acoustic intro sounds like it’s coming from a smoky blues club before the song erupts into its full glory. The song comes from Blur’s most emotional album, 13, which is less about their signature commentary on English culture and more to do with real relationships gone sour.

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Britpopping since I first heard 'Animal Nitrate' in 1993

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