REVIEW: The Good, The Bad & The Queen

BY SARA SHERR For a critic, the hardest thing to review is something that’s just sort of “eh,” instead of moving you towards joy or repulsion. I didn’t think I’d have a blah attack from The Good, The Bad & The Queen, the latest project for Blur/Gorillaz man Damon Albarn. It certainly sounds good on paper, a gaggle of (mostly) white punks on dope: Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Verve guitarist Simon Tong, and Africa ’70s drummer/musical director Tony Allen, who’s the real star here. Albarn uses reggae rhythms and thick dub soundscapes to explore life during wartime in London when the air is thick with paranoia and cynicism. Problem is, that The Good, The Bad & The Queen suffers from Serious Musician Syndrome in which the artist feels the need to drain all the potential life and personality out of the songs and delivery in order to make agoodbadqueen_web.jpg Statement, because hooks would ruin his integrity. So what you’re left with is all the moody asides from the various Gorillaz output. It’s all very downtempo and somewhat dreary and pretty easy to ignore while it’s on, which would make it ideal reading or driving music, or the score to a film at the Ritz. There are some nice moments here: The doo-wop strand of “80s Life,” where you can picture a teenage pouffy haired couple dancing at a prom beneath a disco ball and streamers, and the punk-reggae fight song of the final self-titled track. It feels like things are just getting started and you’d wonder what the next song would sound like if you weren’t half-asleep. The solution? Listen to The Eternals. B-

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