Coming in April, the new album by Gorillaz is expected to create quite a buzz, in a manner of speaking, in the music world. The group, represented by a quartet of strange, and apparently socially disturbed cartoon characters, includes a rather large number of collaborators over the years since it’s debut in the late nineties. In fact, Gorillaz are a British virtual band created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The animated band consists of four members: 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. (Wikipedia) The animation front-concept has developed a backstory over the course of the years, and has somewhat of a cult following itself. There’s no question that the animated part of this concept has carried the music at times when otherwise the organization would’ve went off the radar and out of sight. I can think of more than a handful of groups that sounded very similar to Gorillaz over the years that just simply disappeared after their “one hit” never to be heard again. I believe this WOULD have been the fate of Gorillaz without the animation art side of the concept, so good that! Congrats!
So yeah, the new Gorillaz tracks (4 tracks) have dropped, prior to the April release of the new Gorillaz album in full, and they’re okay!
Right off: Ascension. It’s a topical, socially consciousness song, rather suited for these difficult times, and it’s good on it’s own terms. Rap interludes are usually a bit of a snooze for me, BUT as a listener who’s favorite Gorillaz track of the past is “On Melancholy Hill” from Plastic Beach of 2010, and “Detroit” from The Fall, my taste goes more for Andromeda, and secondly, Saturnz Barz.
Check out the tracks here:
Here’s my favorite track of the past for comparison, On Melancholy Hill:
So, the waekest of the 4 NEW tracks released is “We Got The Power” – This one could’ve went in the “F-sides” bin, and would not have been missed by me, but I think, with Gorillaz music, it’s just a matter of which style you like the best of their music. Overall, I appreciate their aural art, the constructions (I have a special understanding of how this works), and there’s plenty of interesting sound bits and it’s mixed well, and many times it’s pretty enjoyable. I’ve heard better, and I’ve heard worse. As I said, I do tend to cringe with disinterest at the rap segments… but, it’s only because I’m not a rap music fan, and I don’t care for rap interludes that much, so there you go – As rap goes, these interludes are okay, usually pretty good, and it’s part of the sound of this group all along the way. it’s consistent, and it’s expected. Is this Gorillaz last album? I don’t know, but some people have noticed a “Let It Be” look to the album cover:
IF this is Gorillaz last record, it will be okay with me. I don’t anticipate there will be anything extrordinary on HUMANZ, judging by the first 4 tracks released. I could be wrong! I hope so, as I am always hoping for an elevated and exciting innovation from a music artist or artists that have been around a long time. I HOPE there’s something here.
I’ll have more to say in review of the full album release, and perhaps some additional retrospective looks at my other favorite Gorillaz tracks coming soon!
sources/references: Video stills, video embeds, album covers, fair use. Review non-commercial.