It’s pretty rare that someone strikes gold twice with two bands, of course, unless you’re Dave Grohl. Now, when we think of Damon Albarn, usually the first thing that comes to mind is Blur. Blur were a staple in the post-grunge era with their hit, ‘Song 2’. For many fair-weather fans of the band, that’s about the only song they know. That’s not to knock Blur by any means at all, but that song was just so huge that it really took that space by storm.
Sure, you can add ‘Girls & Boys’ to the list for Blur, but I just really don’t think many non-everyday listeners of the band know that it’s Blur doing the track.
Checking in on the Gorillaz side of things; they have a lot more hits that fair-weather fans would know of. Who can forget when ‘Feel Good Inc’ dropped? Then of course, you had ‘Clint Eastwood,’ and ‘Dare,’ which all of these songs were just insanely huge and were shown for weeks upon weeks on both TV and on the radio.
What may have added to the Gorillaz mystique was when they were just cartoons. They were far ahead of their time at that point with not showing who was behind the band. Even their performances at the time were also done on giant screens. Fast forward to today and that’s no longer the case, but it still boosted them yet again when they exposed who they were and started touring in front of crowds rather than just the cartoon characters.
Going deeper into this battle, I checked up on top ten hits from both bands. Here’s what I found out: Blur had thirteen top ten hits, which, honestly is a lot more than I expected. Gorillaz would have to come through big to beat that, and I’m unsure if they do.
Well, it looks like I was right, but right in a pretty bad way. Gorillaz have zero number one hits. They have zero top ten hits. Wow.
The peak for ‘Feel Good Inc’ was at number fourteen and the peak for ‘Clint Eastwood’ was fifty-seven. I guess you can’t really base any of this off of hits because after talking to a few people in my daily life, we all concluded that Gorillaz (at least within this generation) are much more well-known than Blur.
My final test was Spotify numbers. Again, numbers don’t equal talent, but it does paint a picture for how many ears are on a band. For Blur, they have about nine million monthly listeners. For Gorillaz; they have fourteen million monthly listeners.
In my opinion, I think Damon’s best work has been in Gorillaz. However, to his credit, not only is having two successful bands impressive, but I will say that his most “whole” work was in Blur. The work in Blur is different. The work that was done in that band came from a much different place, and for that, it makes Blur great.
Can you truly compare the two bands? Probably not. People who like Blur (who don’t know of Damon) probably won’t like Gorillaz and same goes the other way as well. Overall, I feel that that Gorillaz have done a better job for Damon, but without Blur, there wouldn’t be a Gorillaz. Take it as you will.