The Gorillaz are back with their first album since the 2011, “The Fall.” The Gorillaz is a virtual band created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and comic artist Jamie Hewlett. The band members are bassist Murdoc, vocal singer 2-D, Russel Hobbs on drums and guitar by Noddle.
The band, created in the late 90s, was a comment on the MTV culture that existed back then. Gorillaz is a blend of alternative rock, electronica and hip-hop. “Humanz” is a great album with some amazing beats that touches on the current political climate without being overt about it.
Gorillaz broke onto the scene with the album named after the band. Their first big hit was “Clint Eastwood” which came out in 2000. In a 2012 interview with The Guardian, Albarn said that he and Hewlett had a falling out after their last album due to Hewlett feeling his art was becoming less central to the band. The two seems to have made up as Gorillaz have released their first album in six years.”Humanz” boasts 20 new tracks from the band, hitting the electronica hard.
Like previous Gorllaz albums, “Humanz” features collaborations with other artists such as Vince Staples, Popcaan, D.R.A.M. and Benjamin Clementine. The single “We Got The Power” was even co-written by Noel Gallagher. Gallagher was in the british rock band Oasis, which was Blur’s biggest rival in the 90s.
A major theme of the album is coping with the aftermath of a huge life changing event. The songs on “Humanz” feel surprising, terrified, sad and hopeful despite it all. That is something a lot of people are feeling in this day and age. While no song contains lyrics about current political events, there is plenty of subtext.
The music video for “Hallelujah Money” was released the day before President Trump’s inauguration. They’re obviously talking about current events but the songs are left ambiguous enough that anyone can feel these emotions. It’s political without being overtly political. It’s always impressive when something can have its cake and eat it too.
Several singles for the album have already been released. “Saturn Barz” had a music video released on March 27. It features the band members moving into an old house, only to be visited by various creatures.
This seems to be a call back to music videos for their first album, which were slapstick and joke heavy in nature as opposed to the more story focused videos from their second and third album. “Humanz” is a nice return to one of the best cartoon bands out there.