One album is the quintessential take on the malaise of modern inner-city British life … from 20 years ago. The other is the quintessential take on the malaise of modern inner-city British life … from 40 years ago … and which longs for a return to a 'simpler' life from 20 years before that. But which album – Blur’s ‘Parklife’ or the Kinks’ ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ is the most wistful of the wistful, the Albionest of the Albionest? Taking our cue from the form guide on the back of ‘Parklife’, let’s do a side-by-side comparison of each album’s first 15 tracks (Lot 105 on ‘Parklife’ doesn’t count).
‘Village Green’ comes out strong in the first half of the race, with big guns ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Big Sky’ flanked by steady pace-setters in ‘Picture Book’ and the opening track. But ‘Parklife’ comes home strong, rounding the bend with ‘To The End’, and blazing home with one of the greatest finishers ever, ‘This Is A Low’. ‘Parklife’ gets the win then by a nose and gets the honour of proudly waving the Union Jack at all those Yanks that don’t understand it. (It still lacks a song about a pudgy cat though.)