The 30 minutes culture show from BBC aired a special episode in dedication to Blur’s front man, Damon Albarn. The documentary chronicles Albarn’s musical life, depicting his childhood days and memories through his growth in music until when he felt it would be necessary to release a solo recording. This was ahead of his upcoming solo LP, which was to be released in April 2014. Albarn is famous for performing with Blur and other famous collaborators around Britain. His decision to release his first solo was confirmed via twitter, which stated, “New @DamonAlbarn album #EverydayRobots out 28 April. Title track video Everyday Robots premieres tomorrow (BBC.UK)” Albarn has been a household name in America and Britain, and his proficient skills in writing music, singing, and music production have enabled him to withstand the test of time, associated with the changing times in the entertainment industry. In Albarn’s interview, we realize the transformation and growth in his music. The interviewer’s first solo album will take his fans back to the beginning of his 25-year oldcareer to where he is today.
Born and raised in East London, Albarn attended Stanway Comprehensive School. Albarns’ music career began while in school. With Graham Coxon, they formed Blur, which has grown to be one of the most popular group bands all around the world. In one of his interviews through the Quietus, Albarn takes us back to his early life at Leytonstones (Rogers). Having discovered his talent in an era when many perceived music as a form of entertainment art and not as a life career, Albarn could motivate many people into enjoying music. Albarn was able to bring in a different feel of music in the entertainment industry. Through his band, he could revolutionize the music industry, and bring in a new wave of music in the sector. In 1991, Blur experienced a breakthrough in its music (Harris). Even though the audience received the music with mixed reactions, their debut album Leisure was also a favorite for Albarn. This is evident when he sings a line of his songs from the same album “Half my road was now a motorway” (Ringen). Another essential economic aspect of Albarn’s musical career is that he transformed the perception of music as an art into a reliable income-generating source.
The cultural context of Albarn’s interview depicts a society that has moved from a reserved era, where music was preserved as entertainment for the rich, to an era where many openly accepted it, not just as entertainment but also as a career. In the interview, Albarn depicts the cultural situation of the community around him. It is evident that he lived in a friendly society as one of his neighbors positively identifies him from his humble background. Albarn remembers his previous tours in Africa, and the experiences he underwent while touring. Consequently, Albarn admits the financial difficulties he underwent in the early years of his career. He states that the new solo record will incorporate all these experiences in one. In his own words, he states that the new album will set people on different themes of different times explored since the beginning of his career. Consequently, his song ‘Hollow Ponds’ has been described as dramatic because of his decision to sing about the changes experienced in the landscape. He admits that, unlike most musicians of his time singing similar genres, he chooses to sing about a different aspect of life. For instance, he avoids Highway themed songs, which tend to be similar for most musicians.
The documentary allows the audience to relate with Albarn’s life in different perspectives. His patience to nurture his band and collaborations with other bands is also depicted in the film. His influence amongst various populations is remarkable. And Albarn’s ability to incorporate the influence of his family into his music brings out a man who is passionate of his family and proud of his roots. He openly admits his dad’s influence to his life. His relations with his neighbors around his neighborhood is also revealed via the BBC clip, whereby his neighbor openly wishes him good luck after reminding him of previous encounters in life with his former home. Albarn emerges as a person of strong emotions, who can relate with the events of his life.
Albarn’s songs are evidently influenced by his love life, past, environment, and family amongst other elements. For instance, in the documentary during his interview, Albarn openly admits that some lyrics in his song like “I do love you, but it’s just a fact that the history….than you know“, directly talk to particular people (Rogers). His successful works with Blur include a number of successful projects such as The Bad and The Queen album. His collaborations in Mali were also successful. With his band, he performed for a Hyde Park Show in 2012, which coincided with the year’s Olympics. In the same year, the band received a Brit award for their outstanding contribution in today’s music world.
The documentary on Albarn offers an eye opening session for other upcoming musicians and individuals in the society. Through his talent, Albarn has been able to succeed in a path where others feared to tread. His contribution to the music fraternity and ability to nurture different bands in music is also remarkable. By listening to the documentary, any upcoming artist who wishes to make it in the music world would be equally successful. One his most famous songs, The Universal, depict the visions Albarn had for the music industry and the world at large. In his interview, Albarn describes a generation in which he envisions universal free satellites in every home (Ringen). Besides his growth, he was keen to inspire other musicians and group bands in other regions. For instance, the growth of The Gorillaz in America implies that Albarn’s music influences different groups of people throughout the world. In my view, I am supportive of his decision to produce a solo record. This way, Albarn will also display his talent to the world, and future generations would relate with his music even better.
His quality of music has significantly affected the lives of many. Despite being successful in the musical realm, Albarn has proved to the world that, through their success, they can create a positive impact in the lives of others in society. Furthermore, this quality traverses down his family members, as he openly acknowledges that they also work in collaboration with various organizations in Africa. This inspired him to visit the continent, probably to allow him give back to the society. It is without a doubt that the success of a man is not measured by how wealthy a man is, but by his ability to transform and inspire the lives of those around him. Albarn has fulfilled these essential aspects of his life, and it is time he also concentrates on his personal growth through his solo album.
Before I started my research on Damon Albarn, I was thinking about write this blog post about English rock band Oasis; while I typed in “Oasis band” in search bar, band Blur popped up. Since Damon Albarn is going to release his solo on April 28th, I decided to do some research on his current news and how do his life events connect to his new songs. Damon Albarn is also the frequently artist I listen to, no matter which songs I erase from my ipod, I definitely keep Damon and his band’s music. I can always find songs from Damon to fit my mood, because of the various rhyme of his works. “I became record where I was singing about very much about my own experiences,[…] you know,[…] how do we really exist[…]?” Damon Albarn said in the film. This newest solo is about Damon, about his music, about his life; one scene from the film, Damon walked to the woods and said:” I had to find a tree…it’s a really old tree[…]; I used to bury things underneath it.” Same in his new LP, the album is like a story book of his life and memories and feelings, like the Mentos he hided under the tree, they are old, but they are sweet.