Dr. Dee

  • Record Label: Virgin
  • Release Date: May 8, 2012

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. May 8, 2012
    Only with the exquisite, hazily-focused Dr Dee, Albarn has succeeded in alchemically--if not perfectly--transforming cotton and foil into silver and gold.
  2. Mojo
    Jul 18, 2012
    What could have easily sounded like an extended theme tune for Blackadder proves a classy and durable listen. [Jun 2012, p.88]
  3. May 3, 2012
    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.
  4. May 3, 2012
    There's some brave music, and reminders of Albarn's gift for melody.
  5. Uncut
    May 3, 2012
    Dr. Dee is the most compelling record Albarn has made since Blur's 13; his first proper solo record, with all the emotional engagement that implies. [Jun 2012, p.63]
  6. Jun 18, 2012
    At times, without the visual aids of the stage production, it whips from cohesive to confusing but, for the most part, 'Dr Dee' is a boundary-pushing triumph.
  7. Magnet
    Jun 13, 2012
    The whole of Dr. Dee is bucolic yet slightly nervy with Albarn's chatty croon acting as yet another gentle breeze wafting through the Arcadian affair. It's not the Damon-pop solo you hoped for. [No.88 p.52]
  8. May 8, 2012
    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.
  9. May 8, 2012
    It's accessible in parts, immensely challenging in others, and beguiling in its entirety.
  10. May 8, 2012
    Overblown yet elegant and intimate, this is a bold undertaking; arcane, abstract, absolutely remarkable.
  11. May 3, 2012
    What you do get with Dr Dee is a fleetingly beautiful record that is baffling and bewitching in equal measure, and one that should inspire people to see the accompanying opera as it tours this summer.
  12. May 7, 2012
    The Dr Dee soundtrack is a deeply felt but difficult to love entry into Albarn's entirely singular discography.
  13. May 7, 2012
    If you enjoy church hymnals, tabernacle choirs, tunes from the Elizabethan era and all things Stratford-upon-Avon, you'll pleasantly enjoy Dr Dee's attempt at a modern interpretation of the ancient, packing a lost piece of history into 2012.
  14. 63
    Dr Dee's well-defined boundaries mean it lacks the sense of adventure found in previous efforts, but Albarn deserves kudos for such artistic fearlessness.
  15. May 9, 2012
    Perhaps it is a bit stuffy and hidebound for art rock, but taken as a theatrical production, it's adventurously cerebral, an album to ponder if not quite embrace.
  16. 60
    Dr Dee is more of a musical fog made for sipping tea while blankly gazing onto a desolate street.
  17. 60
    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.
  18. May 7, 2012
    Dr Dee indicates both Albarn's continuing interest in experimentation and his resolute songwriting skills, but doesn't always make for the easiest listen.
  19. 60
    Melancholy of tone, it occasionally attains the antique industry of Michael Nyman's early Peter Greenaway scores, but the overall effect is more akin to the musical equivalent of a mock-tudorbethan semi.
  20. May 23, 2012
    An ambitious and unexpected move, sure, but the mix of period strings, vocal choruses and West African percussion (plus Albarn's gloomy score) makes for a dense term paper.
  21. Clearly Damon is pleased to be carving a niche in the world of high art, but perhaps 'Dr Dre The Opera: Nuthin' But An ENO Thang' might have served his legend better.
  22. 50
    But extracting a narrative from these delicate sounds can feel like more trouble than they're worth--even if you haven't half as much happening as Albarn does.
  23. May 4, 2012
    Despite the many hugely talented performers involved, Dr Dee is less philosopher's stone, and more curate's egg: a handful of fine songs where Albarn plays to his existing strengths, but mired in a sea of over-reaching folly. And ultimately, both Dee and Albarn deserve better.
  24. May 8, 2012
    Unfortunately, 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.
  25. Q Magazine
    Jun 20, 2012
    Even utterly dedicated Albarn fans will be hard-pushed to force themselves to play it more than once. [Jun 2012, p.107]
  26. May 7, 2012
    There isn't one song on Dr. Dee that forces its way into the world the way something like "Feel Good, Inc." or "Parklife" did.
  27. May 7, 2012
    The soundtrack strives for a quirky, melancholy resonance befitting its tragic subject, but too often it comes off as gimmicky and ponderous.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 6 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. May 22, 2012
    Nothing to see here... move along. I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have, but I speak for many people in saying that Mr. Albarn shouldNothing to see here... move along. I didn't enjoy this as much as I could have, but I speak for many people in saying that Mr. Albarn should stick to Gorillaz and Blur. Full Review »