Damon Albarn is a lot of things to a lot of different people. To some, he is the doe-eyed Britpop darling who led Blur to the top of the charts. To others, he’s the grimy member of The Good, The Bad and The Queen, and to others still, he’s a cartoon.
What we can be certain of is that in all his guises, he’s made some bloody good tunes. From Blur to Gorillaz and to his solo work, Albarn has always brought a certain style to proceedings.
We thought we’d choose today, Albarn’s birthday, to look back at some of the finest songs he was ever a part of. It makes for not only a glowing recommendation of the singer and songwriter Albarn has shown himself to be, but a cracking listen to. Find the 10 best Damon Albarn songs of all time below.
To celebrate Damon Albarn’s birthday we have brought together 10 of his greatest songs. The list reads as a glowing CV which has seen him operate in and out of the mainstream, on top of the charts and down with the kids, but always with a certain style that he made his own.
Sit back and enjoy the music of Mr Damon Albarn.
The 10 best Damon Albarn song ever:
‘There’s No Other Way’ – Blur (1991)
You don’t have many goes at a first impression and Damon Albarn made sure we’d never forget him when he appeared on our screens for this video, bowl cut and all. The surreal clip made Blur one to watch in the indie scene and was just a taste of what was to come.
A hook-laden indie sound, ready to take on the charts.
‘Girls & Boys’ – Blur (1994)
Many music lovers were already well aware of Blur when they bounced up the charts in 1994. The band’s 1991 hit ‘There’s No Other Way’ had introduced Blur to the indie circles a while ago now. But when they released ‘Girls & Boys’ suddenly, it announced Albarn as a songwriter not to be missed.
His scathing attack on the people who would end up pumping this song out of every 18-30 speaker they could find, was an ironic but welcomed endorsement of his skill.
‘Parklife’ – Blur (1994)
We couldn’t possibly leave this song out. Though it may have been maligned by many a Mancunian on the piss, awards show or otherwise, the song still remains a snapshot of ’90s culture.
Albarn and the boys employed Quadrophenia star Phil Daniels to add some spoken word poetry to the song and with it, the track elevates to new levels.
‘Country House’ – Blur (1995)
This was the song that put Blur at the top of the charts, swiping the crown from their villainous counterparts, Oasis.
As ‘Roll With It’ and ‘Country House’ were pitted against one another. ‘Country House’, the ditty about Food Records boss Dave Balfe, would win out and it’s easy to see why.
‘The Universal’ – Blur (1995)
A lush and uplifting arrangement would be foreshadowing for Albarn’s later pursuits but it was somewhat novel when Blur went orchestral for their track, ‘The Universal’.
Completed with a damn fine video, it was the Britpop at its finest.
‘Beetlebum’ – Blur (1997)
When the spoils of war were shared among the two arch-rivals in Britpop, Oasis and Blur the audience soon turned on the boys from Essex. The public had seemingly grown tired of the band’s bouncy behaviour.
When they returned in 1997 they were equipped with some darker material that would shed new light on the band and Albarn. ‘Beetlebum’ may well be some of his finest work.
‘Tender’ – Blur (1999)
It may be one of the darker moments on the band’s 13 but ‘Tender’ also provides some of the most wholesome moments too. We’re talking the warm tomato soup on a cold day kind of wholesome.
It begins with a death march and ends with the pearly gates, a triumph oh Blur’s later output.
‘Clint Eastwood’ – Gorillaz (2001)
In 1998 Albarn and his flatmate Jamie Hewlett were determined to start something new. Hewlett was the artist for comic book Tank Girl and the duo were keen to integrate their respective fields.
They created Gorillaz and with their smash hit debut ‘Clint Eastwood’, that possessed a bouncing rhythm and Del the Funky Homosapien’s amazing bars, announced themselves as a musical powerhouse back in 2001.
‘Kingdom Of Doom’ – The Good The Bad And The Queen (2007)
The Good The Bad And The Queen was a meeting of British musical royalty as Albarn teamed up with The Verve’s Simon Tong, Fela Kuti’s drummer Tony Allen and the legendary Paul Simonon of The Clash.
The band churned out some filthy tracks in their time but none crash like this. A picture of London that feels all too real.
‘Mr Tembo’ – Damon Albarn (2013)
Taken from his Everyday Robots album, the track was written for a baby elephant that Albarn met the creature in Tanzania.
Originally composed on a ukelele the song was intended for Albarn’s daughter but was selected for the album from scores of unsued songs, much to Albarn’s surprise.
Honourable Mention: ‘Stylo’ – Gorillaz (2010)
The best moment from Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach saw Albarn and the rest of the band be outshone by the incredible vocal of Bobby Womack.
It’s so good in fact you almost forget Mos Def had a feature too.