Reviewed by: Brian Roser
After listening to Everyday Robots, I wanted to give Mr. Albarn a teddy bear and a big hug. If you are in a good mood, don’t listen to this album. If, on the other hand, you are wallowing in existential angst, this is the music you’re looking for. Basically, if you’re happy, after this you will want to drown your sorrows in beer. If you are already doing that, you will say, “Right on man, that’s it exactly.” The eponymous first track, “Everyday Robots”, has an eerie sound and tells of the isolation that technology brings us. The irony is not lost on me that I listened to the song on my iPad.
Damon Albarn is best known for his work with the bands Blur and Gorillaz and probably less so for his work in Chinese opera. He has been in the music business for over twenty years and they have certainly not been idle ones. Everyday Robots, however, is the first solo album he has released. There are tracks featuring Brian Eno and Natasha Khan as well as samplings from a few others. His hometown’s Leytonstone City Mission Choir also makes an appearance.
Think of this album as today’s musical version of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. It is full of the imagery of loneliness, exacerbated by a social structure that’s replete with Facebook friends, but lacking friendly faces. The lyrics are often repetitive, but it’s possible he did that on purpose. One more symbol of the modern-day grind. Drug imagery also makes an appearance and not the happy Cheech and Chong drugs, but the soul-killing Trainspotting ones.
Giving this album a rating is difficult. If you are happy, it’s pretty obnoxious. If you are drowning in self-doubt, it goes up to bad-ass. I suppose I’ll just split the difference.