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Special CD/DVD edition. 2014 release, the first fully-realized solo album from the main man behind Blur, Gorillaz and other musical projects. EVERYDAY ROBOTS' 12 songs invite the listener into Albarn's world for a genuine 'one-to-one' and are the most soul-searching and autobiographical since his musical journey began. Albarn is first to admit he's a restless soul when it comes to music. What's certain is that all of the projects of his musical career thus far - from Blur to Gorillaz, the Good, the Bad & the Queen, Mali Music, Monkey: Journey to the West or Dr Dee - help form this singular artist' musical DNA. This album is quite clearly about his experiences, from early childhood right through. Ghosts of Albarn's boyhood in Leytonstone and Colchester walk hand-in-hand with reflections on life and love, on nature versus technology. He visits more recent habitats... under London's Westway and idyllic Devon as well as pondering the trappings of modern existence such as computer games and mobile phones. The album was recorded in Albarn's 13 Studio in London and is produced by Richard Russell, head of XL Recordings. 2014.
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So what does a Blur fan do... he buys and generally greatly enjoys Graham's solo works and, after waiting too long, pulls the trigger on Damon's "Everyday Robots". What's a fan to think?
Naturally it's instinctive (and not entirely unfair I think) to consider this solo work in conjunction with the work of Blur. Is it like Blur? I don't think so. Could some, any, all of it been done by Blur? Perhaps a few tracks. So this really does, I think, have the full stamp of authenticity for Damon's talents. This is his work.
Do I like it? My initial reaction, and upon which this review is written, is that it's ok. I've had the CD for a couple of weeks... playing it at home on the stereo and in the car... and my feeling is that I generally like it, but I'm not excited by it. It is, I think, a more introspective piece, which doesn't come as any surprise, so it's something I think I enjoy better when I'm able to really listen and focus upon it. Not something I can do in the car, but which I do at home.
Unfortunately, where I really feel mostly let down is by the music. Sometimes I think it's just odd for the sake of being odd. And there is this one sound which permeates many tracks... it has a beat and sounds kinda like some sort of wood blocks (or something metal, but altered in editing)... and I really don't care for it. I find it unmusical and distracting... and I love Skinny Puppy so 'noise' isn't an issue for me.
Perhaps with more critical listening my initial reaction to this CD will change over time. It's happened before... And I like it enough to do this very thing - get it on the stereo with the headphones on and immerse myself. Whether or not this changes my opinion is up for debate. I just know that at this juncture I'm happy with it, but not loving it.
It is a fantastic album, if you like his past works with Gorillaz, and Blur, then you will relish your time listening to this album.
I've only listened to it a couple of times, but it seems more introspective than I'm used to... and I'm not sure that I'm quite comfortable with it.
Man! the guy can still write amazing hooks, though.
This is an exceptional album with excellent music,thoughtful arrangements, and intelligent lyrics. After listening to the CD several times, I consider the CD to be a concept album, having a general theme and each song transitions perfectly into the next, etc. As another reviewer pointed out, the CD is somewhat autobiographical for Damon, and it speaks to the "dehumanization of modern life and how we interact with electronics more and each other less". Some of the songs have science fiction or technology references that further that theme.
This CD reminded me of an excellent book by Sherry Turkle "Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other" and of Radiohead's OK Computer CD. I don't think Damon Albarn is similar to Radiohead, but both CDs were concept albums in their own way and addressed technology in society. In an interview, Damon Albarn mentioned that he was thinking of how his pre-school kids used technology and social media heavingly...suspecting that his kids may soon tell him that he would need to evolve. ):
I recommend that you listen to this CD in sequence while reading the lyrics. I would suggest that you avoid watching any of music videos before listening to the CD. It may take awhile for you to fully appreciate this CD, but I enjoy it more on each listen.
There is a deluxe or bonus edition available, but I never saw that version on Amazon. I had listened to the entire CD twice when it was streaming live on iTunes prior to the official release, but I purchased CD on Amazon. CD is more enjoyable when you read the lyrics while listening. (The lyrics are not included, but they are easily found on internet).
All of the songs are enjoyable, but the outstanding cuts for me are: "Everyday Robots", "Lonely Press Play", "Photographs (You are Taking Now)", "You and Me", "The Selfish Giant", and "Heavy Seas of Love". Brian Eno co-wrote and sang on the last cut.