Jeremiah Lewis
Staff Writer

The Good, The Bad and The Queen is a new supergroup featuring Damon Albarn from Blur and Gorillaz, Paul Simonon from The Clash, Tony Allen from Africa 70 and Fela Kuti and Simon Tong from The Verve. Its self-titled release showcases the ridiculously amazing talent of producer Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, who also serves as Albarn’s bandmate and the mastermind behind Gorillaz.
The album, also titled “The Good, The Bad and The Queen,” might not be as poppy and funky as Albarn’s other projects, but the songwriting is superb as he highlights the English culture and his love for his native city, London.
Originally, the project was a creative outlet and vacation from touring for Albarn and Tong, who both traveled to Nigeria to record with Allen. After the recording was completed, the album sat on the backburner as Albarn finished up with Gorillaz on “Demon Days.” Albarn hadn’t completed vocals for the project and wanted to bail out until the recording was passed along to Burton. He convinced Albarn to finish the vocals.
Albarn listened to his friend, and after the addition of The Clash’s bassist Paul Simonon, he decided to start from scratch and make a whole new record. The result is a heartfelt tribute to London.
The album is refreshingly new while still having the feel of a Danger Mouse-produced work. Albarn’s vocals and lyrics are the best part — he croons wonderfully over the background action. The musicianship is displayed in full swing as each band member takes the listener through the history of English music. The album dances through Afrobeat, reggae and dub, rock, punk and touches of Britpop. Danger Mouse is perfect throughout, carefully inserting chirps, piano fills, string arrangements and percussion work.
While you won’t be able to dance to it as much as you would to other Albarn/Danger Mouse projects, you can still drift off into space. Albarn soothes on “Northern Whale,” while the album opener, “History Song,” puts you in the lead of a Guy Ritchie movie. Every track is like a short story, each with a different feel.
The band closes the album out with the album title track. The tune is misleading at the beginning with somber, melancholy pianos and xylophones but quickly picks up steam after a few catchy verses and doesn’t finish until after a fast-paced jam.
Overall, the record delivers almost everything you want from a good album. It features an all-star cast, the instrument work and production are amazing, and the songwriting is clever. Albarn is able to pay tribute to his homeland while at the same time giving the audience its fill of great music in the form of a true supergroup. This release bodes to be one of the best of 2007 and gives a great outlook for the rest of the year. “The Good, The Bad and The Queen” is being released today.

Grade: A