Damon Albarn isn’t exactly a household name—well, at least, he technically isn’t. However, anyone who has happened to tune into the radio or watch a tv commercial within the past two decades (seriously, who does that?) would probably recognize his music. As the primary songwriter for both Blur and Gorillaz, Albarn has crafted his fair share of alternative rock gems—both popular and obscure. But despite the prolific nature of his career, he has yet to release a proper solo record . . . until now, that is.
In anticipation of his album, Everyday Robots (which is due to release in April), Albarn recently leaked the title-track single, along with a very intriguing music video, in order to build the hype. Consider the hype built: This track is off the chains, as they say in the rap-game.
The track, which combines trip-hop elements and acid jazz piano with an ancient-Egypt-meets-West-coast-rap instrumental melody, is precisely the fix that Gorillaz fans required after a significant gap in releases from any of Albarn’s projects. It sounds like Radiohead, Portishead, and—well—pretty much any band that ends in the word ‘head’ (except for Motorhead, that is).
And who could ignore those chilling lyrics? Albarn begins the song by crooning, “We are everyday robots on our phones,” and eventually concludes that we are “in the process of being sold.” While social commentary isn’t necessarily new to Damon Albarn, this lyrical concept takes it to the next level. His astute critique of modern society’s almost pathetic dependence on technology (smart phones in particular) functions as a musical public service announcement. His images are dystopian, and his themes are essentially Orwellian in nature.
Also worth mentioning is the music video which accompanies this track; director Aitor Throup used CGI software to create a digital portrait of Albarn, and the results are astonishing. Plus, these visuals complement the lyrical content quite well. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjbiUj-FD-o
At the end of the day, we may be turning into robots, but at least we’ve got good music to indulge our robot-ears.