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The Good, The Bad and The Queen - The Good, The Bad and The Queen (Cover Artwork)

The Good, The Bad and The Queen

The Good, The Bad and The Queen: The Good, The Bad and The QueenThe Good, The Bad and The Queen (2007)
EMI Group

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Call it the effect of an ocean between us, but the work of Damon Albarn has been fairly inconsequential in my life. In North America it's easy to see Blur and Gorillaz as just two more imported mainstream rock acts, just as easy to avoid as they are to discover. Of course that's not at all true in t.
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Call it the effect of an ocean between us, but the work of Damon Albarn has been fairly inconsequential in my life. In North America it's easy to see Blur and Gorillaz as just two more imported mainstream rock acts, just as easy to avoid as they are to discover. Of course that's not at all true in the UK, where I suspect for many Albarn's profile is the sole reason the Good, The Bad & The Queen are so high on the radar. Around here, or more specifically within the confines of these four walls, it's exclusively due to the participation of one Paul Simonon. This is the Clash bassist's return to music, and that's going to bring a whole lot of attention from certain quarters that wouldn't give a new Albarn project a second thought. What can I say? They were the only band that mattered.

Yet while Simonon's the hook, this is inarguably Albarn's project. The Blur frontman sings lead and plays keyboard, and while it's uncredited the lyrics likely his as well. Verve guitarist Simon Tong rounds out a base of accomplished Brit-pop veterans. Simonon of course provides the lows, but also contributes backing vocals and serves as the in-house visual artist. Nigerian drummer Tony Allen is perhaps the most interesting member of the quartet, as the Afrobeat founder's been described (by Brian Eno no less) as "perhaps the greatest drummer who has ever lived." While Albarn's got the track record (and ego) afforded by pop success, Allen helped create a genre -- and that adds a certain amount of credibility to what may otherwise be seen as a vanity project. Yet for all the gravity attached to the members' pasts the band has legitimately coalesced; the "supergroup" label even feels like a misnomer.

The album's a downer, purposely so. The band takes a restrained, atmospheric approach, painting life in modern London with a thick layer of fog. Interestingly underlying Albram's oft-whispered vocals are dub rhythms courtesy of Simonon and Allen. Considering how the Clash progressed from "Armagideon Time" onwards this material is perfectly suited to Simonon's reggae-informed playing. The coupling of such a pulsing, active low end with a melancholy, pensive facade sets the record apart. It's remarkably organic, surprisingly so with a star producer like Danger Mouse involved. If the DJ, infamous for his remix projects, would have taken a heavier hand to the work it would have fallen too close to Gorillaz in terms of style. Instead he leaves the musicians mostly to themselves, adding some tasteful percussion and synths here and there, but never overstating his presence. The band's key strength is in retaining that sense of minimalism, and the record doesn't feel busy or overwrought despite a number of session players contributing. The latter half of the album's awash in strings and the single "Herculean" employs a 16-piece choir, yet the sense of intimacy remains. Once the band exhausts the dub formula they tease with some fascinating departures, primarily the curious, captivating White Album pop of "Green Fields."

While "History Song" and "Kingdom of Doom" were presented as such there isn't much in the way of obvious singles on The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and that suits the overall mood of the record. The album, quite heavily orchestrated and featuring the personalities it does, feels like an exercise in restraint. The result is a remarkably smart, moody and oft downtrodden pop record that's informed by the members' past work but not shackled by it.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Career Suicide - Attempted SuicideThe (International) Noise Conspiracy - A New Morning Changing WeatherWeezer - WeezerExplosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss EveryoneWeezer - PinkertonJoe Strummer and The Mescaleros - Global A Go-GoOperation Ivy - Operation IvyThe Clash - London CallingLiberty - The People Who Care Are AngryDoom - Total Doom

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TheMike (February 19, 2007)

"Herculean" and "Green Fields" are two of the greatest songs I've heard in recent months. Wow... They do more than compensate for the less memorable tracks. I also really like "Kingdom of Doom". Good album, overall.

Anonymous (February 5, 2007)

how can you say that you can't call soemthing bad and then proceed to call something great? sounds a touch hypocritical to me

sickboi (February 2, 2007)

I have NEVER seen Adam this pissed.

not-to-regret (February 2, 2007)

I can't believe people are saying "this is bad"; stop being so subjective. Good Charlotte is bad, Billy Talent is bad, objectively speaking. This is different music, you like it or you don't, that doesn't mean its bad. On a completly unrelated note, The latest Thermals album is great; it's refreshing to hear some diginity in pop-punk.

coltonlloyd (February 1, 2007)

one of the worst band names i've ever heard; one of the most boring albums i've ever heard

wallofyouth (February 1, 2007)

why must people hate

chokingvictim (February 1, 2007)

Gorlliaz suck, and it has nothing to do with them being on the radio. Besides 1 or 2 good songs, they aren't good at all. Blur is good though.

adam (February 1, 2007)

Thanks for providing a rousing distraction this afternoon TOBB. I often don't let anonymous voices on the internet get under my skin but you managed to do it. Not that a single thing you've said makes me want to change one word of my review, but congratulations regardless.

Sorry that you find my writing unbearable, I can't please everybody. However we are a volunteer community driven site so if you feel like contributing something constructive we'll gladly give it a look.

You have yourself a fantastic, productive day my argumentative friend.

-adam

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

google what you'd like. if the bassist of the band says they have no name, who am i to argue. instead write some stuffy, overly-wordy review that sounds like a bad press-release, slap your name on in and wait for the internet masses to soak it up and move along.

"We haven't got a name, actually. That's just the name of this project, or this collaboration. The record's called The Good, the Bad and the Queen." Paul Simonon

"The coupling of such a pulsing, active low end with a melancholy, pensive facade sets the record apart. It's remarkably organic, surprisingly so with a star producer like Danger Mouse involved." poetry man. real poetry. congrats on being the longest running reviewer on punk news.org. that's like being the smartest kid in special ed.

-TOBB

adam (February 1, 2007)

You're not proving me wrong TOBB. The Clash have been referred to as "The Only Band That Matters" since the 70s, and I have every right to call them that as GQ does.

Google: clash "Only Band That Matters" and you get 16,900 hits. I guess all 16,900 of us are ripping off GQ. Give me a break.

...and as for your 'nameless band' argument, Damon might go to press after the fact and call it a nameless project or an experiment or a commune or a spaceship or a unicorn, but the fact of the matter is that the world is calling it "The Good, the Bad and the Queen" because they've been presented with no alternative. if Damon wanted this to be intentionally nameless he should have exerted some better control over the band's early press, because that got away from him rather quickly.

Finally: "once again, the org is throwing those yellow staff tags out to any kid"

I've worked here since 2001 and I'm the longest serving staff member who isn't the founder. I'm done talking to you. Fuck off.

-adam

lushj (February 1, 2007)

Not particularly interesting. I gave it a chance because of Paul Simonon. Within the various post-Clash bands, for this kind of mood I'd go for the Mescalero's "Global A Go Go" instead. Or even some of Big Audio Dynamite.

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

once again, the org is throwing those yellow staff tags out to any kid with a functionally retarded vocabulary and a collection of rare 7-inch punk records.
all hail the good, the bad and the org staff.
-TOBB

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

The Good, the Bad & the Queen is an album by men with credentials. The singer (Damon Albarn) founded Blur and cartoon hip-hop collective Gorillaz; the drummer (Tony Allen) led Fela Kuti’s legendary band, the Afrika 70; the guitarist (Simon Tong) was in the Verve; and the bassist (Paul Simonon) is a painter of London cityscapes who used to play in the only band that mattered (The Clash).
Alex Pappademas from "The Mellow Sound of Gorillaz Clashing"
GQ Magazine
Feb. 2007

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

Likewise, his musical output makes him the most prolific man in pop. In the past five years he's released music with Blur, Gorillaz, his world-music project Mali Music, an album of unreleased demos and a new project, The Good, the Bad and the Queen.

Though the band features himself, Clash bassist Paul Simonon, Blur/Verve guitarist Simon Tong and 66-year-old African drummer Tony Allen, Albarn cringes at the title "supergroup".

He doesn't even want the band to have a name, just to be known by the name of their album, and insists it was never going to be a solo project, despite industry rumours.

"It was really just an experiment," Albarn says. "It started in Lagos and ended in London."

-Cameron Adams
The Herald Sun

adam (February 1, 2007)

joeg: That's nice, but for all realistic purposes the name of the band is "The Good, the Bad & the Queen." If that was meant to solely be the name of this specific record then why was it on all the singles and why is it all over their press releases? Damon and Paul can come up with all sorts of high art concepts for what the band is, but the public knows them as "The Good, the Bad & the Queen" and that's what promoters, record companies and publications are calling them.

-adam

adam (February 1, 2007)

Of course the Clash were a British band, but in terms of celebrity Albarn's got Simonon beat in the mainstream UK press. If it was just Paul's band I'm quite confident that they'd be getting a bit less attention.

-adam

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

"Of course that's not at all true in the UK, where I suspect for many Albarn's profile is the sole reason the Good, The Bad & The Queen are so high on the radar."

Because The Clash weren't a British band ... .... .... ... and Paul Simonon is not British ... ... ... ... ...

joeg (February 1, 2007)

hey adam, you're half right. for all obvious intents and purposes, this "group" is referred to as the good, the bad, and the queen. but Damon and Paul themselves have said in interviews they have no official band name. bizarre i know. at least they can give themselves a symbol or something.

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

nice pwn

adam (February 1, 2007)

TOBB: What article are you talking about? The Clash have been referred to as "The only band that mattered" by a zillion sources for, oh I don't know, something like 25 YEARS now. I didn't just crib that out of the latest issue of Cosmo or whatever you've been reading. Jesus.

Also, "the band doesn't have a name" what are you talking about? It seems that they're being called "The Good, The Bad and The Queen" in just about every publication, concert billing, ALBUM COVER and everywhere else. What exactly are you smoking?

-adam

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

how's this for pretentious horse shit, they don't have a name. the good, the bad and the queen is the title of the record. did this reviewer do any homework whatsoever?

Anonymous (February 1, 2007)

"they were the only band that mattered"

...yes, i read that article too...i can't seem to remember was it gq or rolling stone? bring something original to the table or we'd rather go hungry.

-TOBB

zakzakzak (February 1, 2007)

"This band is only getting press because of Simonon"

yeah,otherwise no one wouldve ever heard of this band of no-names like albarn and dangermouse.......

klonny (January 31, 2007)

Gorillaz fuckin' rules. I don't give a shit if you guys get all "omg its radio you unpunx nub" that doesn't mean I shouldn't listen to good music.

Demon Days is one of the best albums ever. Seriously.

Anonymous (January 31, 2007)

u just gave it 4 stars bcuz teh guy 4rm teh crash iz in it.

jacknife737 (January 31, 2007)

I'd rather have another blur album

Anonymous (January 31, 2007)

PIL ???????ummmm, no-oldpunker

kenjamin (January 31, 2007)

Damon Albarn does some weird world music stuff too. Not that I particularly enjoy it but he's definitely not a one-trick pop pony.

adam (January 30, 2007)

Really? I didn't get PiL at all from it. It's too calm.

-adam

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

this reminds me of Public Image, LTD

ilikepunkrock (January 30, 2007)

where is teh revolt review?

joeg (January 30, 2007)

i'm really diggin this record. can't wait to catch this live.

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

poor choice of band name. i'd probably like this a lot more if damon albarn wasnt singing. he's just a twat.

Rastid (January 30, 2007)

score is for the incoherent review.

rkl (January 30, 2007)

i've really enjoyed this album, its an excellent roadtrip cd

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

This band is only getting press because of Simonon. The only reason I gave them a chance is because of Simonon. This is album is boring - they should have let Simonon do some lead vocals.

I really wanted to like this album.

baseball (January 30, 2007)

haven't been able to get into this yet...just kinda felt like nothing grabbed me

not ready to write it off yet though, i think i just haven't been in the right mood for something like this lately or something

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

first comment said it best, very boring. Not terrible, just with all that talent it just seems to go nowhere-oldpunker-

crackpotdemagogue (January 30, 2007)

It's good stuff, but i don't really like the music. It's just not for me. A bit too down.

I like the sentiment, ie 'Kingdom of Doom' (I seen a live performance of them on t.v the other week and albarn's introduction to the song was; "this song's about the kingdom of doom, and we all live in it" - brilliant!)

As for the guy below who labeled The Good The Bad and the Queen as 'Britpop'...you must be listening to something else, it's about as far from Britpop as Manowar are.

Score is for 'Kindom of Doom'.

cdogg (January 30, 2007)

I'm liking this. The album strikes a very consistant mood throughout; it's filled with just the right amount of melancholy without crossing over into any kind of depressing "Smiths-esque" territory. Right now, the standout track for me seems to be "80s Life." The rhythm and tempo of this song reminds me of "In The Still of the Night" (especially at the beginning). I can see this song popping up in the future on movie/tv soundtracks (most likely at a time when the protagonist is sad about something).

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

I've read this described as neo-psychadellia. I think that's pretty apt. Pretty laid back, but it's layered and hypnotic. There's a few songs on here that don't gell at all, but for the most part I really like this album.

sXenester (January 30, 2007)

awesome, awesome project. can't wait for whatever albarn has next.

not-to-regret (January 30, 2007)

How does one "suck a fuck"?

GlassPipeMurder (January 30, 2007)

Britpop with a little electronic edge. That's about it.

not-to-regret (January 30, 2007)

After one listen, some of the songs were kinda boring, others had a touch of dub that I found very appealing and dare I say "bad ass".

Anonymous (January 30, 2007)

Wish I could get into this, but I just can't. So boring.

- Suck the Fuck

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