Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots



Tara Hillegeist: Tries for sparse Jarvis Cocker-lite musings and somehow misses (with typical egotism) that Albarn’s never worse than at his most observational. Points for a backbeat that calls to mind an Oren Ambarchi & Muslimgauze x-over, because that’s great funny business. No points for anything else.

Alfred Soto: Albarn’s prodigious efforts this decade warrant somebody hurling the title moniker at him, but if he wants to claim it, go ahead. I expect better mass-produced product than sampled creaks and our morose robot singing like “End of the Century” was a profundity. The best automaton of English popular music smiled.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: A charming rewrite of 2003’s “Out of Time”, except where that song placed Moroccan romance against the careering force of global technology, here love has dwindled in a digital diaspora. The robot conceit is a little heavy-handed, yes, but it works to make a point. Albarn is happy to remind us that he may just be Britain’s best songwriter on global matters of the heart, the sad-eyed audio version of an Olivier Assayas film, a creator of hymns on globalisation, still singing about Parklife but one witnessed in the blur of Google Maps.

Anthony Easton: Albarn has been stretching into a longer medium lately and it’s almost like he’s forgotten how to write a pop song. This is a shame, because his opera was not good enough for him to forget much of anything. 

Juana Giaimo: I won’t accept other silly protest songs against technology: Reflektors, digital witnesses or everyday robots… it’s all just the same. At least the previous two were fun! Instead, “Everyday Robots” wanders with no aim, unwilling to call your attention. If this is supposed to change people’s mind towards the use of technology, then I’m afraid it will be a failure. 

Crystal Leww: This is so perfectly and mathematically calculated to be deep in its imitation of a lovestruck robot that it is pointless and pretentious. I hate the strings. I hate that weird, gruff, crazy sample. I hate Albarn’s lyrics and his delivery. I hate the fetishization of robots. I hate the indie rock canon.

Megan Harrington: You know, he says “we” and “our” like he includes himself in this indictment, but what are the chances this artiste takes three transfers to get home? Ever has to rub up against a stranger who turns his stomach? Gets brainfreeze from the outside in while waiting for delayed public transit? Let’s all quit our jobs and engage with the world full time! 

Scott Mildenhall: Wake up sheeple! The bloke who put words to the British Gas ad music has been doing some thinking and oh why bother. This meditation on stuff Albarn read in the Metro, set to something like an unfinished idea from the Gorillaz iPad album, says about as much as “Tupac Robot Club Rock” and “Sexy Robot”, only without the incitement to dance. It’s fine though, because people don’t actually dance anymore; they probably just do it on an app or something.

Edward Okulicz: I cringed and winced at so many lines (and so many pained deliveries of said lines) that I momentarily stopped caring about what this was about. The first line of every stanza, where Albarn sounds like he’s closing his eyes and stretching the word out for some kind of effect that says something about our numb, disconnected society (what an original comment, I think you’ll agree) makes me unsure as to whether I should laugh at him or be embarrassed for him. Apparently this is social critique of some kind. A six-year-old, literally, could have made these observations, and wouldn’t have been so shameless as to put it out as a video and pretend it meant something. Aha, that’s the answer — we should definitely be laughing.

Brad Shoup: The violin curls up into machine-generated beeps; it’s a neat post-modern motif but wow is it tough on the ears. And it does not go away. If the pitch were changed I could probably appreciate what could possibly be some warm chamber trip-hop. (Or some Notwist nostalgia.)

Katherine St Asaph: Querying Damon’s database . . . What are violins? Desireless curlicues. What is hip-hop production? Something people like James Blake do. What are women? Ghostly echoes. What’s a protest song? A Reddit “does anyone ever?” post. What might people say to each other? Lingo and Facebook statuses, connection reduced to its cheap medium.

Patrick St. Michel: What the heck else are you supposed to do on the train to and from work, Damon Albarn? Less moaning about robots, more answers please!

Reader average: [5.33] (3 votes)

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