ALBUM REVIEW: Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
From the man who made the bad hair and even worse music of the 1990s a little more bearable with famous Britpop spectacular Blur, comes Everyday Robots – Damon Albarn’s long awaited first solo album. Described on his Facebook page as “his most soul-searching and autobiographical yet”, the album explores everything Damon hasn’t done during his outstanding (to say the least) musical career.
From Blur, to the Gorillaz – Albarn has truly delved into his musical capabilities, not only by exploring several genres, but also by becoming a solo act. As ‘Everyday Robots’ begins, it’s clear that the self-titled track is a technology-focused opener. “We are everyday robots on our phones” is sung in an easily recognisable east-London manner, a household voice to almost everyone. Somewhat croakier than usual, it is clear that Albarn is expressing his personal views from the beginning, as high pitched strings waltz eerily in the background.
‘The Selfish Giant’ (featuring Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes) includes hauntingly slow piano playing erraticly over a dull thudding bass that eventually transforms into a digital blipping, later drowned out by Albarn echoing the words “it’s hard to be a lover when the TV’s on” – this is a solo album full of issues with modern existence.
Produced by head of XL Recordings, Richard Russell, the album is packed full of vocal snippets, ‘Everyday Robots’ truly is Albarn at his finest – reflecting on personal issues throughout his life and career. By using his familiar lyrical capabilities and once guarded persona to give listeners insight into his world, we explore a world full of concepts and nostalgia. ‘The History of a Cheating Heart’ sends waves of emotion with lyrics “I carry this upon my back, always. If you’ve fallen, I will put you back. I do love you, but it’s just a fact.” This is certainly a side of Albarn that has never been expressed, despite having several outlets with his numerous musical projects.
Although the album reflects on deeper issues, the upbeat tracks complete the album to perfection. The closing number ‘Heavy Seas Of Love’, is possibly the best song on the album, with gospel-lead vocals and a clap-along tempo, the record ends on a high-note to what is sure to be Damon Albarn’s best musical work yet. And although a solo career means the hopes of a new Blur album are now in the past, there is something satisfying in hearing Albarn being cathartic.
By Alana Anderson