By: Eric Greenwood
Fucking lead singers always have their heads up their asses. It's pretty much universally agreed that Damon Albarn is a twat. And a spoiled one at that. Always has been; always will be. Born of intellectual hippies, Albarn cheekily co-opted the Mod movement with Blur's second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish in 1993, and consequently re-anglofied the entire music scene in his country for a few years. If he weren't still a dead ringer for Jude Law, I doubt he'd get away with being a notoriously egotistical, drunk, frighteningly ambitious, drunk, naively political, yet sensitive little, that's right, twat. But we don’t begrudge him that right. He’s a full-blown rock star, and he’s earned it.
Of course, having written some of the finest pop songs of a generation will give you the benefit of the doubt, on occasion. And Albarn has proven himself capable of blinding greatness throughout his fourteen-year career, but no one is bulletproof. Yes, Thom Yorke, that goes for you, too. The trouble is, when your band gets so big that even your crap records sell, you start to lose sight of what's what. And guess what? Albarn's not quite as cool as he thinks he is, anymore.
When I first saw the title of Albarn's first solo record, I, like most of you, cringed utterly. Not just with my face, either. It was a full body cringe. My God, I thought, is he really that far gone? It just doesn’t make much sense- Think Tank was a pretty damn good resurgence for Blur, even without Graham Coxon. I mean, come on. Democrazy? Uhh, yeah, I get it and all, but it's really, really lame. I know he's all Greenpeace and anti-Bush/Blair like EVERY musician with rich white man's burden before him: Geldof, Bono, Sting, blah, blah, but this double-entendre is simply too cutesy to go without scorn.
So, of course, Democrazy, despite its silly political overtones, is a collection of demos. And even calling these half-baked, go-nowhere, do-nothing bits "demos" is a generous stretch. Albarn kept his four-track handy on Blur's summer jaunt across America last year and wanted you, the no-nothing fan, to hear what the "creative process" is really like from a "professional" who knows. Well, color me raped. I wish I could have my innocence/ignorance back because if this is the "process" by which any of Blur's string of masterpieces were created, then it's all ruined for me. My bubble hath burst.
Luckily, you'll be hard pressed to get your hands on an actual copy, as Mr. Albarn has wisely chosen a limited run of 5,000 10" vinyl-only copies for this display of gratuitous self-indulgence on his own label, Honest Jon's. It will be a shit day if I have to hear "A Rappy Song" or "America Welfare Poem" ever again. Download at your own risk.