December 13, 2003
Albarn, Damon : Democrazy
Blur man's half-arsed, pissed-up hotel room demos...
2 / 10
If you went to a Marco Pierre White restaurant and ordered a steak au poivre with oyster juis and a drizzle of shredded lark’s tonsil gratinee and Marco just sloped out of the kitchen looking knackered, showed you a cow and shrugged, you wouldn’t tip the bugger, right? If you’d hired a master builder to add a replica Roman bath-house extension to your halls of residence shoebox and got left with a stack of plastic columns and a note saying ‘we thought it’d be valuable to give you an insight into the construction process at the rawest level’, you’d get Watchdog on their arses on the spot, yeah? And if you paid good money for two limited-edition Damon Albarn 10"s and got 14 muffled bits of song ‘segments’ that he knocked off in a hotel bathroom in Nephewfuck, Arkansas while pissed, you’d horsewhip him back into the grand-a-minute Pro-Tools-U-Like mega-studio forthwith, hmm?
Unlike, say, Lou Barlow’s inspired and revealing solo Sentridoh collections or Babybird’s five albums of eerie attic tapes, ‘Democrazy’ - a bundle of no-fi micro-tunes and rhythmic arsing about recorded entirely in hotel rooms on Blur’s recent US tour – is the most pointless and self-pitying of vanity projects, containing practically nothing that you, I or any card-holding member of S Club Juniors couldn’t bash out in ten minutes if handed a broken drum machine, some tablas stuffed with blancmange, a large tin bucket and a handful of mogadon. ‘Five Star Life’ finds Damon Albarn whimpering tunelessly about how expensive his breakfast is while impersonating a doorbell on a xylophone. On ‘I Miss You’ he gets homesick during the theme music to Trumpton. ‘I Need A Gun’ could even be the sound of someone in the room next door bashing on the wall demanding Damon Albarn either turn his Stylophone down or play one they know. Something almost constituting ‘songs’ appear out of the fuzzy hopscotch-rap of ‘Sub Species Of An American Day’ and the brain-damaged Pavement strumming of ‘American Welfare Poem’, but otherwise these are the musical foetuses that Damon Albarn would usually polish to glorious manhood in practice room and studio, untimely ripped from the tape machine and presented bloody, half-formed and utterly stillborn.
But technical prowess and studio polish isn’t the point of ‘Democrazy’, is it? The point is to expose the still-beating heart of the muse behind arguably our best and most forward-thinking pop group. To take a scalpel to the very marrow of songwriting itself, to try to catch on tape that intangible genius spark of inspiration at the genesis of great music. And what illuminating revelation do we learn from the half conceived, cottonmouthed rubbish that constitutes ‘Democrazy’? In full: ‘thank Christ Blur usually finish writing their songs before they sell them, otherwise they’d be shit’.
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