Primer: Where to start with the many projects of Damon Albarn
Primer is The A.V. Club‘s ongoing series of beginners’ guides to pop culture’s most notable subjects: filmmakers, music styles, literary genres, and whatever else interests us—and hopefully you. This installment: Damon Albarn.
Damon Albarn 101
Any conversation about the mercurial singer-songwriter Damon Albarn begins with Blur. His longest-running outfit—whose hotly anticipated comeback album, The Magic Whip, will be released this week—not only launched Albarn’s career in the early ’90s, it cemented his position as one of the most recognizable and vital voices of his generation. It didn’t start out that way, though. Blur’s 1991 debut album, Leisure, is a brisk and infectious affair, but it didn’t quite commit to either the dance-happy sounds of Madchester (“There’s No Other Way”) or the trippy swirl of shoegaze (“She’s So High”). Bouncy and boyish, Albarn didn’t stand out as either …