Damon Albarn premiered the second video from his forthcoming solo album, Everyday Robots (out April 28) last week. The song ‘Lonely Press Play’ was debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival as part of Albarn’s intimate acoustic performance. As lovely as that version was with its string accompaniment, the stripped-down version performed on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC 2 show last month imparted a gentle sadness that was magnificent in its simplicity. Now, we can enjoy the studio version in its official video.
Albarn has previously stated that the theme of his solo album is the exploration of nature versus technology. It’s no surprise then that he personally shot his new video entirely on his tablet. The guerilla-style footage was taken all over the world, in typical Albarn fashion. The pastiche of locations featured include North Korea; Tokyo; London; Dallas; Utah; Iceland; Devon, England; and Colchester, England — where he met Graham Coxon while attending Stanway Comprehensive School in the 1970s. Just as Albarn always seems to be on the move, so, too, is his video. The constantly shifting camera work provides a nice juxtaposition to the mellow shuffle of the song. The song and its accompanying video seem to show us how technology manages to bring us together (‘when I’m lonely, I press play’), yet, by its very nature, heightens our loneliness. Technology is the necessary evil that binds us as a society and takes us from one place to another — whether by train or plane, escalator or motorway, or virtually, via computer. It’s something that is so ubiquitous, yet compartmentalizes us in a way that is entirely unique to our time.
Albarn told Rolling Stone that his interest in filming his surroundings was tied to the reflective mood from which Everyday Robots was born. ‘I started at the beginning by going back to the neighborhood where I grew up and walking around and filming stuff with my iPad,’ he said. ‘It was like my own archaeological dig, cordoning off areas that I wanted to concentrate on.’
Press play if you’re lonely (or not).
Albarn, also, offered up this 90 second teaser of a new track called ‘Photographs.’ The studio-shot scene features the singer at the same piano adorned with a skull and taxidermied owl seen in earlier studio clips.