The Good, the Bad & the Queen
|The Good, the Bad & the Queen|
|Studio album by Damon Albarn, Tony Allen, Paul Simonon and Simon Tong|
|Released||22 January 2007|
(West London, England)
(West London, England)
|Genre||Alternative rock, art rock|
75:43 (Limited Edition)
|Label||Parlophone, Honest Jon's, EMI, Virgin|
|Damon Albarn chronology|
|Tony Allen chronology|
|Paul Simonon chronology|
|Simon Tong chronology|
|Singles from The Good, the Bad & the Queen|
|The A.V. Club||C|
|Los Angeles Times|||
The Good, the Bad & the Queen is the album by an unnamed British alternative rock supergroup also commonly referred to as The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and made up of Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Simon Tong and Tony Allen and produced by Danger Mouse. The album was released in January 2007. The album debuted at number two in the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold in the UK within days of its release despite little media recognition and airplay. In the United States, the album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 49.
It is stated that the record is, in a sense, a concept album, as its songs are all themed around modern life in London. It was described by Albarn as "a song cycle that's also a mystery play about London" in an interview with Mojo.
Although The Good, The Bad & The Queen was first reported as a solo album by Albarn with Danger Mouse producing, NME revealed in late July 2006 that the solo project had been switched to a new group formed by Albarn. The band, which formed in 2006, released their first single, "Herculean" on 30 October 2006. The single followed the band's appearance at the BBC's Electric Proms season at the redeveloped Roundhouse in Camden on 26 October, during which they performed the entire album. Three warm-up gigs in East Prawle at the Pig's Nose Inn, Ilfracombes Marlboro Club and The Exeter Cavern Club preceded their gig on the BBC's Electric Proms, where the album was performed in order with two other songs inserted, "Intermission Jam" and "Mr. Whippy"; the latter was a B-side for "Herculean". The band performed four tracks from the album at Abbey Road Studios on 13 December 2006, during a recording session for Live from Abbey Road.
For the first few months, Allen would travel from Paris (where he has a permanent home) to London to work in Albarn's Studio 13 for 3 days a week, writing, rehearsing and recording. At the same time as the initial recordings in the UK, Albarn had begun demoing for the second Gorillaz record and by early spring had invited in producer Danger Mouse to oversee the album. Albarn was keen to work in Africa with local musicians again after his work on the album Mali Music (released 2002) so Tony Allen suggested that the four of them (including Danger Mouse) decamp to his home country of Nigeria to continue the sessions. There they recorded at Afrodisia Studios, once used by Fela Kuti, with a huge variety of local musicians, committing huge numbers of songs and ideas to tape before returning to England once more.
The track listing was originally unveiled and commented upon by Damon Albarn and Paul Simonon in an interview in the November 2006 issue of Uncut. The second major gig of the band's career took place on 12 December 2006, at Wilton's Music Hall in East London. It was watched by 300 specially selected fans, as the launch gig of MySpace's The List. The band released their first Top 20 single, "Kingdom of Doom", a week prior to the release of the album. In April, "Green Fields" was released as the third single from the album and debuted at No. 51 in its first week.
The Good, The Bad and the Queen was voted the Best Album of 2007 by the Observer Music Magazine. Paul Simonon told the magazine how the record came about: "It's not a commercial record, so OMM's award shows that you can make music that moves people without going down the obvious route. I hadn't been in a band for 17 or 18 years, and then Damon asked me to listen to some tracks he'd recorded in Nigeria. I'd met him once before, at Joe Strummer's wedding reception. We shared ideas about people, musical styles and where we live. With the music, I wanted to complement Tony's drums. I'm not into over-complication – I'm not capable of it, to be honest. The lyrics, the London atmosphere, all that evolved as we played. There's a lot of craftsmanship on the record, and Damon has a vision for arrangements, and everyone slotted in around them. 'But it's all done now. We won't make another record, and we didn't properly name the band, because a name is for a marriage."
In an interview with Pitchfork about Danger Mouse's involvement in this album, Albarn states: "He was quite adamant that we don't do any kind of harmony and that I kept it a single voice. I thought, "Well that's great." That's how I kind of start the songs in the first place: I get a very basic arrangement and texture them. His attention to that detail was important. And it helped me write the lyrics. It cleared the way for it just having to be a single voice. He's an exceptional talent. With Brian [Danger Mouse] being a kind of third party so to speak, it helps to have someone there. You want a band to work itself, but at the same time you want it to be the best that it can be. I tried it the other way, with Tony leading the tracks when I went to Lagos, and it was great but I didn't fit into that. That is why I scrapped the whole record, because I thought I should be involved at least."
Damon Albarn wrote the original version of the song "Green Fields" following a night out with Blur bassist Alex James and Marianne Faithfull. That demo was recorded in a studio on Goldhawk Road, Hammersmith and Albarn gave the tape to Faithfull. It was later recorded by the singer/actress with different lyrics in the verses and released on her 2005 album Before the Poison as "Last Song." The demo of the song resurfaced "late in the proceedings of recording [The Good, the Bad and the Queen]" when Albarn played it for the rest of the band. The band decided to record the track and Albarn decided to "finish it by explaining how I lost this song and now it's come back to me. So it's a song about a song."
Albarn has stated in several interviews that the band itself is unnamed, and that The Good, The Bad & The Queen is simply the name of the album only. However, all single releases by the band are clearly credited on the accompanying record or CD sleeves to "The Good, The Bad & The Queen". It should also be noted the band's first single release ("Herculean") was issued months before the album ever came out – at which time, publicity materials identified the band as The Good, The Bad & The Queen and no one claimed that the band was unnamed. "The Good, the Bad & the Queen" is used exclusively as the name of the band by UK chart compilers, and almost universally by record stores, music downloading services, concert promoters, fan sites and other media.
The band has not released any new material, though Simon Tong and Paul Simonon both made appearances on Damon Albarn's next project, the third Gorillaz album Plastic Beach and Tony Allen collaborated with Albarn and Flea of Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the album, Rocket Juice & the Moon in 2012. In November 2011, the band played a show at London's Coronet Theatre marking the 40th anniversary of Greenpeace – the first time the band had played together in almost three years.
In October 2014, Albarn announced that a new album was fully written, and waiting to be recorded. In April 2017, in a new interview with Q music magazine, it was reported that a new album is still in the making but that recent events have caused the group to start afresh on the forthcoming album. Albarn told Q that "Brexit has obviously given us a wonderful starting point. On 3 May 2017, during an interview as Gorillaz for WFUV Radio Albarn mentioned the recording sessions for the new album will start to take place during the month of May.
All tracks written by Damon Albarn.
|4.||"Kingdom of Doom"||2:42|
|5.||"Herculean" (featuring The Sixteen)||3:59|
|6.||"Behind the Sun"||2:38|
|7.||"The Bunting Song"||3:47|
|9.||"A Soldier's Tale"||2:30|
|12.||"The Good, the Bad & the Queen"||7:00|
|Limited edition bonus DVD|
|1.||"Nature Springs" (live at The Tabernacle)||3:16|
|2.||"The Bunting Song" (live at The Tabernacle)||4:01|
|3.||"The Good, the Bad & the Queen" (live at The Tabernacle)||4:36|
|4.||"A Soldier's Tale" (rehearsal footage)||2:22|
|5.||"Interview" (rehearsal footage)||20:43|
- Sample credits
- "Northern Whale" contains a sample of "As Tears Go By", as written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards & Andrew Oldham and performed by The Rolling Stones from the album December's Children (And Everybody's).
- Unreleased tracks and B-sides
- "Intro" – Played on the Live from Soho EP
- "Back in the Day" – B-side on "Herculean" single.
- "Mr. Whippy" (featuring Eslam Jawaad) – B-side on "Herculean" single.
- "Hallsands Waltz (Sketches of Devon)" – Song on "Kingdom of Doom" single.
- "Start Point (Sketches of Devon)" – Song on "Kingdom of Doom" single.
- "Intermission Jam" – Unreleased song played at the BBC Electric Proms.
- "England, Summer (In Black & White) Dog House" – Song on "Green Fields" single.
- "England, Summer (In Black & White) Polling Day" – Song on "Green Fields" single.
|UK Albums (The Official Charts Company)||2|
|US Billboard 200||49|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold|
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- "EMI press release". Archived from the original on 18 May 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2007.
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