Damon Albarn has a bone to pick with The Rolling Stones over their recent album Hackney Diamonds and the “objectification” of Sydney Sweeney in the band’s “Angry” music video.
The Blur/Gorillaz mastermind shared his thoughts on the Stones’ latest album cycle in a new interview with the French magazine Les Inrockuptibles (via NME). “This really annoyed me,” he said. “Because my family lives in Hackney and the way they showed up at the Hackney Empire venue [for an album release event] really pissed me off. They’ve never did a thing in Hackney, they’ve never played there, never contributed to anything. They just showed up. It’s all nonsense.”
Hackney is an inner-city area of London that’s historically been associated with a high crime rate, and “Hackney diamonds” is a slang term referring to shattered glass left behind after a robbery. However, Keith Richards said that in the context of their album title, the phrase indicates “a good Saturday night that went bad.” Understandably might rub some locals — including our July 2023 cover stars — the wrong way.
Albarn continued on his gripes with the “Angry” video: “I listened to their new song and watched this horrible music video showing them at different stages of their lives on billboards. And this young woman objectified. What the hell is this? There’s something completely disconnected.”
The video depicts a leather-clad Sweeney sitting, dancing, and lounging around in a Mercedes convertible, being driven around Los Angeles past animated billboards that show the Rolling Stones members when they were much, much closer to her own age. And though the Euphoria star is definitely old enough to have some agency in situations like this, it does feel a little jarring when she arrives at a billboard with the modern-day Stones, nearly 60 years her senior.
When asked if he’d ever consider “capitalizing on [his] past glory” way, way down the line, Albarn responded with a sharp no: “I did all sorts of things, whereas they’ve never been anything other than The Rolling Stones,” he explained. “I love the idea of devoting your life to one thing, in search of the sublime. But the truth is, they’ve became worse. Worse at persisting to stay themselves. That’s something I don’t understand. Making exactly the same music but not that good. There must be no joy in doing something like this.”
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Watch the “Angry” music video below.
The Stones will celebrate Hackney Diamonds with a 2024 North American tour, and you can find tickets at StubHub.