Skip to main content

Ads

loading...

Featured Post

One-Pot Pasta with Tuna

Use the one-pot pasta cooking method to make this tuna pasta recipe that calls for just 5 ingredients and is ready in just over half an hour. For extra crunch and a tuna noodle casserole feel, sprinkle this speedy pasta dish with toasted whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs.

Ads

ads

Flipboard

Flipboard

The Good, the Bad & the Queen - Merrie Land Music Album Reviews

On its first album in 11 years, the Damon Albarn-fronted supergroup tackles Brexit head on. In his “Anglo-Saxistentialist” reckoning, false nostalgia imperils a true vision of British identity.

Damon Albarn has been here before: examining the state of his nation from a place of great ambivalence. He’s been tangled in the Union Jack since his days at the helm of Blur, when he laced chart-topping pop with serrated critiques of British culture. In the decades since, the definition of that culture has become increasingly contested—particularly in the debates around Britain’s 2016 decision to leave the EU. Shaken and spurred by the Brexit referendum, Albarn’s supergroup the Good, the Bad & the Queen—also including the Clash bassist Paul Simonon, the Verve’s Simon Tong, and legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen—came back together after 11 years to make Merrie Land, a concept album about what it means to be British.

For Albarn, it’s part of a lifelong investigation into the nature of Englishness, or what he has called “Anglo-Saxistentialist.” In a recent interview, he referred to Merrie Land as “the next installment of [Blur’s] Parklife.” If the world of Parklife was rendered in crisp, saturated colors, Merrie Land is drab and strewn with debris. Albarn guides us through its greying sites, pointing out ruins of English identity along the way. “If you are leaving/Please still say goodbye,” he sings atop lullaby organ in the title track; “Can you leave me my Silver Jubilee mug, my old flag?” These obsolete symbols are typical of the album’s tarnished menagerie—evocative, Albarn says, of a “nostalgic, sentimental vision of how England used to be,” even if it “never really existed.”

This kind of nostalgic residue is smeared all over Merrie Land, which is shot through with sounds and images that feel haunted by age and irrelevancy. On “Gun to the Head,” belches of brass suggest the ghost of the royal marching band; on “Nineteen Seventeen” Albarn shows us curled, faded snapshots of “Pylons, rapeseed fields/Powdered skies and trees alone/Thousands of white crosses in a cemetery,” captured from a train leaving “a place we can’t remain close to anymore.” “My heart is heavy,” he sings, “because it looks just like my home.” The bloom of strings and pulsing Mellotron suggest Parklife’s “To the End,” though the magnitude of this ending feels far greater.

Merrie Land owes as much to Britain’s musical traditions as it does to its relics and geography; the first half of the album offers an absurdist vaudeville romp akin to the Kinks and Sgt. Pepper’s, whereas the late-album cut “The Truce of Twilight” touts a walloping bassline that recalls the Clash’s dreary “The Guns of Brixton.” “Lady Boston,” one of the record’s sparser tracks, is built upon ghostly layers of regal noise: Battle snares roll softly, and the wails of a Welsh choir are tempered as if wrapped in gauze.

While the Good, the Bad & the Queen are skilled at providing a wide breadth of styles here—from the woozy, carnivalesque organ of “The Last Man to Leave” to “The Truce of Twilight”’s militaristic chants—they especially succeed at conveying a crumbling and isolated Britain. In a passage from the title track, Albarn closes in on that isolation, to claustrophobic effect: “So rebuild the railways/Firm up all the roads,” he sings. “No one is leaving now this is your home.” Albarn’s plainspoken phrases hover above the mix, lending a blunt edge to the song’s loping circuit of strings and woodwinds. Simonon’s trudging bassline and Allen’s sparse snares imbue his words with an oppressive weight: In Merrie Land, national identity is not a promise but a trap—an estrangement from one’s own true past and the collective history that builds a country.


View the original article here

Comments

ads

loading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Game Of Thrones Season 8 - End Game With Sinhala Subtitles

Asus ZenFone 6 Review

Has Asus cracked the bezel-less design with the ZenFone 6? We think so - read our review and find out why.
Should I Buy The Asus ZenFone 6?
The ZenFone 6 is a phenomenal smartphone, offering an innovative Flip Camera system that not only provides high-end front- and rear-facing cameras, but allows for a full-screen display free of hole-punch cameras or notches. Combine that with high-end internals and all-day battery life, and you've got a great, all-round smartphone. 

Samsung Q70R Review (2019)

Not as well specified as in previous years, but the 2019 Q70R is a superb QLED TV which has enough features from the flagship Q90R to make it great value at this price. Find our more in our full review.
Should I Buy The Samsung Q70R QLED 4K TV?
Highly impressive QLED picture quality along with the all-encompassing Smart Hub combine to make the Q70R a great choice if you can’t justify spending a whole lot more on the Q90R.

Huawei MateBook 14 Review

The MateBook 14 is one of Huawei's new laptops for 2019 and is the perfect all-rounder. Find out why in our full review.
Should I Buy The Huawei MateBook 14?
The MateBook 14 might be a slightly chunkier and heavier version of the flagship X Pro, but the weight is a small price to pay considering that this laptop is a much cheaper option.
What you lose (or gain, really) in weight, is made up for by additional ports, better performance and longer battery life. You only really need to pass on this if Thunderbolt is an absolute must.

Xiaomi M365 Electric Scooter Review

We test Xiaomi's electric scooter, which will keep the big kids entertained for hours. It's now officially available in the UK, too, which makes it even more appealing.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Electric Scooter?
The Xiaomi Electric Scooter is expensive and not allowed on UK roads out the box, but if you have somewhere to take it this toy is an awful lot of fun. It's fast, smooth and almost entirely silent, with a battery that just keeps on going and decent brakes that stop you quickly but safely. This scooter is best reserved for the big kids, but that's no bad thing.

Like Fan Page