As if his rubber-duck-and-swimming-pool rant against Simon Cowell wasn’t already proof of this point, please know that Damon Albarn — one-half of the brain trust behind Gorillaz — isn’t exactly afraid to voice his displeasure about the current state of pop music.
On Thursday, Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett came by the MTV Newsroom to talk about the success of Gorillaz’s third album, Plastic Beach, and, inevitably, the conversation shifted to the group’s pop contemporaries, be they Cowell or Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, about whom he scoffed, “[They] work very, very hard to be very, very popular. … That seems to be all they care about in life.”
And that was just the beginning. Because Albarn is a guy who takes his pop music pretty seriously — he grew up on it — and the current state of things depresses him severely. Well, most of it, at least.
“Most of it, I’m not interested in. There is some new stuff I like. … La Roux’s ‘In for the Kill,’ I loved that song. That gave me the kind of pop thrill I used to get when I listened to stuff as a kid,” Albarn said. “It doesn’t last very long in your life, but it helps you through. It hasn’t stayed with me the way [the Clash's] ‘Combat Rock’ stayed with me or [Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's] ‘The Message’ stayed with me, but it gave me that same thrill. And that’s what some pop music is, and there is always [going to be] popular music, and I hope Gorillaz is in the latter category, where it can last.
“Because, that’s the thing, isn’t it? Good pop music should last, it should be what people listen to, because if you want pop, it’s better,” he continued. “It might not look as attractive or carry the same cultural clichés, but, as for actual music, it’s better. And music is still actually important, and once it loses all sense of integrity, our culture will die.”
We told you he took this stuff seriously. And, as is to be expected when talking about pop music — or, really, anything for that matter — the topic of Justin Bieber eventually surfaced. And, well, perhaps it’s best if those with Bieber Fever just stopped reading right now.
“His hairstyle has really kind of captured the imagination, along with Simon Cowell’s rubber duck,” Albarn smiled. “But that’s just a hairstyle.”
What do you think of Damon’s pop-music rant? Let us know in the comments below!