The Good, The Bad & The Queen

The Good, The Bad & The Queen

I was intrigued when I read about Damon Albarn's latest project, The Good, The Bad & The Queen. The Blur frontman would be joined by the Clash's Paul Simonon on bass, the Verve's Simon Tong on guitar, and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen. Oh, and the whole thing would be produced by Danger Mouse. I could already feel the bumping, staggering, shaking rhythms. I could taste the sadness, the drunkenness, the weirdness. I could hear the bubbly reverb, the foggy chants, the electronic wind, the faraway whistles, the playful piano, the funny finger snaps.

And then I really listened.

Richly textured acoustic guitars come slithering in with all the scrape of skin against brass you'd ever want, the hi-hat skitters and scoots along while the bass bounces by, a high-pitched sound — something like a steel brush against an old pipe — shoots around the side walls, quavering oohs and ahhs fall like stars, and Albarn sings some raspy, lispy lines:

Birdsong in the night
The sound drags a net through the twilight
Emptiness in computers bothers me
These are the seeds in our mind
We make our own confining time

The whole, of course, is more than its separate parts, and this shouldn't be thought of as merely a "Damon Albarn project." This album is the best kind of mess, a real beautiful mess, a strange combination of strange things, and I do love it very much.

Donald's picture

I really dig this album as well - Simonon's bass playing is a highlight imho.