On our list of “huh?” moments from this year is Damon Albarn’s “Dr Dee” – an opera created by Damon and friends, based on the life of John Dee, the medical and scientific advisor to Elizabeth I. After sampling the album, I said to myself, “Is everything OK with Damon Albarn? Should we check in on him? He seems to be going through something. I’m concerned.” I adore Damon as much as the next middle-aged Britpop fangirl, but I’m not even going to try to defend this as some sort of artistic expression of the tribulations experienced in Elizabethan society… blah blah blah, I just put myself to sleep. Mr. Albarn has experimented with different sounds and styles over the years, but he’s been consistently entertaining. Blur, Gorillaz, The Good The Bad & The Queen – all highly entertaining and accessible. This? Not so much.
Haven’t heard it yet? Here’s a sampler of the album tracks.
Right? Ok, I’m being overly harsh. Our Britpop idols tend to experiment and get a little different as they hit middle age. The time of Parklife and This is Music has passed. At least this opera isn’t as bad as the time Richard Ashcroft found God, much to the despair of our ears. I’ll give Damon some credit for at least choosing an interesting topic.