It was almost exactly one year ago that Stereogum published the first-ever installment of our Counting Down series, in which I wrote about Damon Albarn’s non-Blur projects. I think the first line of that article is especially apt today. As I wrote:
Damon Albarn doesn’t deserve our love. We want Blur and he gives us … anything but.
From that point forward, Albarn actually gave us a pretty decent portion of Blur, most notably a handful of live dates — including two Coachella appearances — and two fantastic new songs. Earlier this month, Albarn publicly teased the possibility of a new Blur album. And who knows? Maybe it will even happen at some point. But today, Rolling Stone published an interview with Albarn, conducted during Coachella, suggesting that any new Blur material will have to wait, because (presumably) next up is an Albarn solo joint. Said Damon:
I’ve just finished a solo record … I’ve been making it with [XL Records chief] Richard Russell. We worked together on the Bobby Womack record, and really enjoy working together. He’s done spectacularly well as a music mogul, but I think he wants to focus his energy on producing records. Making a solo record is can be such a disaster, so I thought if we’re going to make a record with my name on it, I should get someone to really produce it — take that responsibility away from myself. Richard does the kind of rhythmic side of it and I do everything else.
Albarn also said the solo album will be followed by a tour, on which he’ll play songs from all his projects: Blur, Gorillaz, the Good, The Bad, & The Queen, and so on. Of course, a Damon Albarn solo album is worthy of great anticipation, but some consternation, too: The two extant records credited to “Damon Albarn” — 2003’s Democrazy and 2012’s Dr. Dee — stand among the very worst in the man’s extensive catalog. Neither is billed as, or pretends to be, a solo album, however, and there’s virtually zero chance Albarn’s first proper solo album will be so inessential. But will it include anything as good as “Under The Westway“?