Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 fantastic first solo albums recorded by artists who departed—or simply took a temporary hiatus from—their respective groups, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Click “Next Album” below to explore each album or view the full album index here.
DAMON ALBARN | Everyday Robots
Selected by Justin Chadwick
As the voice and most prominent face of Blur, Damon Albarn—along with the brothers Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker, Brett Anderson and Richard Ashcroft—was the hyper-publicized posterboy for Britpop in the mid 1990s. But his career since has seen the sophisticated songsmith shed such artifice in favor of a dogged, workmanlike approach to refining and stretching his craft beyond accepted creative comfort zones.
Arguably destined to be forever overshadowed by his more extensive output with Blur and Gorillaz, Albarn’s inaugural solo LP Everyday Robots is a beautifully somber and ruminative song set that cements him as one of the greatest musical adventurists and most masterful songwriters of our time.
Highlights abound, but the meditative “Lonely Press Play,” sparse “Photographs (You Are Taking Now)” and “Mr. Tembo,” an endearing ode to a baby elephant Albarn encountered in Tanzania, rise to the top of this all-around inspired affair. Not a robotic exercise in the least bit as the title suggests, Albarn’s first and only solo album thus far is steeped in a profoundly human sincerity and vulnerability.