Review Summary: A very personal effort and a fine achievement
Everyday Robots is Albarn's finest work since his great Monkey: Journey to the West, which he wrote in 2006-07. He has certainly been doing good stuff since then, Plastic Beach, Dr. Dee and The Good, The Bad and The Queen all had great moments (Dr.Dee less so admittedly). However on Robots (which is good enough to merit a nickname) Albarn achieves a level of consistency as well as quality.
Every song on the album is great in it's own way. Some are beautiful, others are fun, some are odd in a colourful, distinctly Albarnesque style. For me, there is a peak in this album. One stand out song which allows the album to briefly soar to the heights of greatness. I'll let you the listener decide what that song is though. ;)
There was a time when I would have said that a work as good as Everyday Robots was an amazing achievement for a man in his mid forties whose 'peak' years are arguably behind him. However I no longer believe that age is a major factor in creating great music in the Western popular music tradition. I think there are several practical reasons Albarn is still able to create great music. He believes he can, he still has the desire to do so, he is not nostalgic for his past achievements, he is constantly developing as a musician and he works very hard and with great consistency.
There is one aspect of Robots which is quite remarkable: This is Albarn's first autobiographical work in over a decade. While most artists write songs about themselves or bull*** lyrics that don't mean anything, Albarn has managed to spend a decade of an amazing musical career not writing about himself. With Everyday Robots he creates a very personal reflection on his own life which actually carries weight.
Appropriately, everything on the Album (with the exception of some guest vocals and percussion) was written and recorded by Albarn himself. He was also involved in the production of all tracks.
* A previous reviewer indicated that this album was made 'in conjunction' with Brian Eno. This is not true. Eno's contribution does not extend beyond guest production on two tracks (which also feature two other producers including Albarn himself).