Damon Albarn Calls Out The “Karaoke Coliseum”

    In an interview today with the BBC, Damon Albarn, of Gorillaz and the possibly reuniting Blur, got a bit pissy about the modern music industry, which he said has “beyond recognition from the one I started out in.” Asked about negative comments he had previously made about TV shows like X Factor — if you’re not an Anglophile, think American Idol, although X Factor will be getting its own American version very soon — Albarn said, “A future that is informed by a grandiose karaoke show is a little depressing.” He went on to talk about why he vastly preferred the days when another TV show, Top of the Pops, was Britain’s primary musical cultural touchstone. Getting a bit worked up, Albarn said “the eclecticism that Top of the Pops offered our culture” — the show featured everyone from a-ha to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs during its 40-year run — “was far more exciting, far more positive” than rule by the few who control the “karaoke coliseum.” Defending his own bit of the modern music moneymachine, Albarn said the Gorillaz’s involvement in a myriad of moneymaking ventures made complete sense, as that band is “a commercial venture.”


    The interview, with BBC reporter Nicola Stanbridge for the Today program, also covered the Gorillaz world tour, the inspiration for its most recent album, Plastic Beach, and how the band worked with its collaborators (Bobby Womack, Snoop Dog, Lou Reed). Basically, the band asked them to write a song about plastic, which it turns out Lou Reed “really likes.”


    Surprisingly, news of the Blur reunion was not covered, although you can read about that other places.