Music

What 2014 really needs – Damon Albarn’s solo album or more Blur?

Yesterday reports of a Damon Albarn solo album surfaced, and while the news was largely greeted with joy in the office it has also polarised opinion. Some members of the team still yearn for the long-awaited eighth Blur album while others are salivating at the prospect of a solo record from Mr Albarn.

Needless to say the debate other whether Damon should be focussing on Blur or working on his numerous side projects rumbled on way past lunch, so we decided to put our thoughts on the matter into words:

Alex Towers: Blur

Like so many reformations before and since, the Blur reunion in 2009 came with the usual plaudits and platitudes that one would except. The live shows widely revered, good times had by the hundreds of thousands. But the thing which set this reunion apart, was the same feeling of absence, of unfinished business, that had echoed round the band since 2003’s Think Tank. Though they had never officially split up, there’s a feeling that Blur bowed out at the top of their game, and that there was still a lot more to come.

A low key release single for Record Store Day in 2010, ‘Fools Day’ showed Blur still knew how to write about the common life experience that only they can. The simply wonderful ‘Under The Westway’, which followed in 2012, again highlighted this point. And for someone who moved to London, it showcased that Damon Albarn is in that rare category of songwriters that know how to connect to Londoners, to show what life is like living here; the ups and downs, the trails and tribulations. No one since Blur has written about London like Blur can.

The Olympic show also proved that. Though the other bands on the bill that day were seemingly on a nostalgia trip, Blur still felt relevant, like they had something to give.

That is why a new Blur album would be so welcomed. We all grew up with Blur, we matured with them and we still learn from them to this day. A new Blur album would be the bible for 2014.

Chris Cummins: Damon Albarn

In recent years I’ve seen Blur twice – at Glastonbury in 2009 and earlier this year at Primavera Sound – and both times felt like watching your embarrassing dad take to the mic in an attempt to relive his 90s heyday – Oi! Seriously, seeing a middle-aged Damon Albarn dressed in a shabby Fred Perry shirt and jeans, adopting a mockney accent, and trying to breathe life into that staple of 90s nostalgia, Parklife, was enough to turn a life-long fan off for good. I loved Blur in the 90s – but that’s where they should stay.

Damon’s output outside of Blur has been remarkable: Gorrilaz, The Good, The Bad and The Queen, Marli Music… even Graham Coxon’s efforts haven’t been half bad – and the less said about Alex James’ post-Blur career the better. So why would you want him to regress back into Blur?

Blur encapsulated the zeitgeist of the 90s perfectly, but we have plenty of people to do that for us now – Arctic Monkeys, King Krule, Lilly Allen – and no matter what they do now, their gigs will still be full of people waiting for Damon to sing that song.

So let’s leave Blur where they belong – in the 90s – and sit back and enjoy Damon’s ever-evolving and remarkable musical output – and hope that it may long continue.

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