I’ve been a Damon Albarn fan since the days of Blur’s first album Leisure when Jenny Spivak let me listen to her tape of it in Photography class back in my freshman year of highschool. The shit was slacker cool and poppy as fuck. It was sugar smack for my ears and I went dangly nuts for it. I love me some Blur. In my humble opinion they did the job of dissecting American Culture when no other band from America in the 90’s would. But I have to say this, I am kind of tired of enduring Gorillaz.
This project of Albarn’s that he’s been spending most of his time on since the demise of Blur in the beginning of the last decade has, in my opinion been a half-hearted effort. In fact, he solidified that feeling for me when he put together the amazing and intense The Good, The Bad, The Queen project that caught Albarn at his spooky best. For me Gorillaz has too many lows to outweigh the highs. I’m tired of the inconsistency and The Fall just kills it for me.
Recorded mostly on an iPad with applications for said Apple product while on a US tour, The Fall sounds more like demos for a not just the Gorillaz but other various Albarn projects. Taken as that, I think I would be okay with this retro-techno-y gobbledygook, but presented as canon in the Gorillaz spectrum just bothers me to the final degree of my being. It has some really beautiful moments that are ruined by the use of just bad drum beats and computer drenched sound effects. The use of which seems so out-of-place, even for Albarn’s more open source project.
Further, The Fall feels like it was made on an iPad. It sounds like anyone could have made this album. Damon Albarn is who he is because he can do something beyond the ordinary witht he tools at his disposal. The Fall is encouraging the problem of over saturation rather than being a vision of greatness. I expect more and more kids will launch bandcamp pages trying to sell their own ipad creations, that as good intentioned as they may be, lack a vision and focus and continue to hog up bandwith. Frankly, I expect more out of Albarn then an hours worth of sketches, presented to me as a full length album that’s supposed to stand up even to the very odd and lopsided Plastic Beach, let alone Park Life or Think Tank.
The Fall works as a novelty for fans sure. It’s 15 songs created over 32 days while on the road, no doubt on a not so quaint tour bus while hauling across the large country of America. And in that, it could even be seen as a symbol of the excessive, wasteful, overloaded culture that America has become. This is an album for a moment, not a moment in history or time, but a quick glance and then it’s forgotten. We are already overloaded now with information where the shelf life of an album is less than a week and there is scarcely any music that is timeless and enduring. The Fall is not the statement I expect from someone of Albarn’s character. It’s a lazy presentation and does not set a good president I fear.