Albums to watch

Dr Dee

Damon Albarn

Dr Dee

The musical polymath's latest excursion is an 18-track studio soundtrack to his second opera, described by Albarn as "strange pastoral folk”

ADM rating[?]


UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 8.5 |   BBC

    Albarn has done his research but this is no dry slice of worthy academia; the way the spirit of each style interlocks is brilliant, and he continues to pull memorable melodies out of his (Elizabethan) hat
    Read Review

  2. 8.3 |   A.V. Club

    With the exquisite, hazily-focused Dr Dee, Albarn has succeeded in alchemically—if not perfectly—transforming cotton and foil into silver and gold
    Read Review

  3. 8.0 |   Rave Magazine

    It sounds like a lot of ideas thrown together, but they’re pretty great ideas
    Read Review

  4. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    There's some brave music, and reminders of Albarn's gift for melody
    Read Review

  5. 8.0 |   Uncut

    The most compelling record that Albarn has made since Blur's 13 (1999); his first proper solo record, with all the emotional engagement that implies. Print edition only

  6. 8.0 |   Mojo

    A classy and durable listen. Print edition only

  7. 8.0 |   The Scotsman

    It adds another innovative, imaginative string to Albarn’s bow
    Read Review

  8. 7.0 |   music OMH

    There are no Gorilaz-esque pop thrills or rousing Blur-like punk rock thrashes. But what you do get with Dr Dee is a fleetingly beautiful record that is baffling and bewitching in equal measure
    Read Review

  9. 7.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    If it’s not a masterwork it’s an evocative accompaniment to a summer’s day, a sporadic but persuasive reminder of how spine-tingling Albarn’s voice can be, and yet another musical genre ticked off his list with studious accomplishment and loving care
    Read Review

  10. 7.0 |   PopMatters

    A towering, ambitious, and inarguably complete work that flies in the face of convention, as typically suits Albarn these days. It’s accessible in parts, immensely challenging in others, and beguiling in its entirety
    Read Review

  11. 7.0 |   Clash

    Overblown yet elegant and intimate, this is a bold undertaking; arcane, abstract, absolutely remarkable
    Read Review

  12. 6.8 |   The AU Review

    It’s unlikely that this will appeal to the majority of fans of Albarn's other work. It is an interesting and beautiful work albeit one with its fair share of flaws
    Read Review

  13. 6.7 |   Pitchfork

    A deeply felt but difficult to love entry into Albarn's entirely singular discography
    Read Review

  14. 6.5 |   Prefix

    In theory, it's an incredibly ambitious work. The overarching flaw of Dr Dee is actually from Albarn’s distinctive vocals. While incredibly malleable and multifaceted, they just don’t pair with gloomy bells and plucking violins
    Read Review

  15. 6.0 |   The Observer

    The biggest draw comes in the folk-leaning songs. Beginning with "Apple Carts" and concluding with "The Dancing King" there is an Albarn solo album of sorts here, hidden among the stern runes
    Read Review

  16. 6.0 |   Spin

    Blur singer does folk opera about forgotten Elizabethan scientist, gives himself all the best songs
    Read Review

  17. 6.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    A musical fog made for sipping tea while blankly gazing onto a desolate street
    Read Review

  18. 6.0 |   The Quietus

    A handful of fine songs where Albarn plays to his existing strengths, but mired in a sea of over-reaching folly
    Read Review

  19. 6.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Dr Dee indicates both Albarn's continuing interest in experimentation and his resolute songwriting skills, but doesn't always make for the easiest listen
    Read Review

  20. 6.0 |   The Independent

    The best parts are those where Albarn blends in Eastern scales and African kora
    Read Review

  21. 6.0 |   The Irish Times

    There is a deft balance of rugged folk and opera, and a decent tune or three
    Read Review

  22. 5.0 |   NME

    The Blur man's solo album-cum-operatta has its moments, but in the end, isn't medieval life rubbish?
    Read Review

  23. 5.0 |   Rolling Stone

    The mix of period strings, vocal choruses and West African percussion (plus Albarn's gloomy score) makes for a dense term paper
    Read Review

  24. 4.2 |   Paste Magazine

    An undertaking as complicated as Dr Dee needs all the accessibility that would-be fans can get. And instead it’s nothing more than rabbit-hole music for Dr. Damon
    Read Review

  25. 4.0 |   Under The Radar

    The operatic folk of Dr. Dee doesn't leave much of an impression
    Read Review

  26. 4.0 |   Evening Standard

    Destined to be mocked on panel shows for years to come
    Read Review

  27. 4.0 |   The Arts Desk

    Devoid of context, it’s a mish-mash of disparate parts that makes for an uncomfortable listen
    Read Review

  28. 4.0 |   The Skinny

    An ambitious, flawed project, let down by its scope and vision rather than its execution
    Read Review

  29. 4.0 |   Q

    Even utterly dedicated Albarn fans will be hard-pushed to play it more than twice. Print edition only

  30. 3.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    ‘Dr Dee’ is almost too fractured to pass judgment on. It’s certainly too self-indulgent
    Read Review

  31. 2.0 |   Scotland on Sunday

    Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite once asserted Blur were only fit to fertilise your garden. That was a little harsh, but this could rot your roses
    Read Review

blog comments powered by Disqus

Watch it

Roll over video for more options

Preview & download it

Damon Albarn: Dr Dee

  • Download full album for just £9.49
  • 1. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 1, The Golden Dawn N/A
  • 2. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 2, Apple Carts N/A
  • 3. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 3, O Spirit, Animate Us N/A
  • 4. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 4, The Moon Exalted N/A
  • 5. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 5, A Man of England N/A
  • 6. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 6, Saturn N/A
  • 7. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 7, Coronation N/A
  • 8. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 8, The Marvelous Dream N/A
  • 9. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 9, A Prayer N/A
  • 10. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 10, Edward Kelley N/A
  • 11. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 11, Preparation N/A
  • 12. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 12, 9 Point Star N/A
  • 13. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 13, Temptation Comes in the Afternoon N/A
  • 14. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 14, Watching the Fire That Waltzed Away N/A
  • 15. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 15, Moon (Interlude) N/A
  • 16. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 16, Cathedrals N/A
  • 17. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 17, Tree of Beauty N/A
  • 18. Dr Dee, An English Opera: No. 18, The Dancing King N/A
  • Service provided by 7Digital

Latest Reviews

More reviews