Gorillaz – Humans Review 


In true Gorillaz style, while facing huge political scandal and contentiousness, Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and the cartoon clan reappear with their new album Humanz: as if to say ‘yes, the world may be going down the drain, but at least you’ll have the perfect playlist to listen to as we all go down with it.’ In an LP exploring both the beauty and the hideousness of human life, this bitter-sweet composition is powerful in its messages, yet falters in its execution.

Humanz is an apt title for an album in which such an eclectic range of individuals congregate to share their talent and experiences. From the punchy, dominant rap of Pusha T to the feathery whispers of D.R.A.M, Humanz truly is a celebration of what individuals have to offer. We are given glimpses of multiple perspectives, such as from black people in America (Ascension); the unnerving juxtapositions of these stories paired with the upbeat robotic backing tracks are statements in themselves towards the political doom the tracklist illustrates.

Gorillaz comeback single – Hallelujah Money, featuring Benjamin Clementine – was a soft riot of a track upon its release on the eve of Trump’s inauguration. It’s slow, wispy and poetic; a passive-aggressive declaration. This suitably precedes the standard tracklist’s closing number, We Got The Power – the album’s most hopeful tune. It’s bold both in its prevailing claps and formidable synths, but also in it vocals, as Jehnny Beth jubilantly roars the lyrics, alongside a cameo appearance from Noel Gallagher, putting aside the Brit-pop enmity for this much-needed spirit-booster. After all the stories of despondency, feelings of inferiority and worry about the Internet’s power, We Got The Power ties the album up with a unifying and revitalising bow.

With diverse styles comes a range of musical influences. Heated reggae teems in Saturnz Barz through Popcaan’s distinctive vocals. Pure mechanical hip hop takes hold on Momentz. Carnival, featuring Anthony Hamilton, is slick and soulful. Busted and Blue takes a whole different approach in it’s quiet melancholy. Although the disjointed feel given by the mismatch of genres well represents the idea of the insecurity and unpredictability that delivers the foundations for this album, it sounds just that – disjointed. And not in a good way. Having said that, songs like Busted and Blue and, my personal favourite, Andromeda, have a chilled edge to them that offer an opportune break between much more party-appropriate tracks. Each individual song is good – cleverly written and instrumentally sound – but the sheer amount of them makes for a busy and overflowing tracklist.

Overall, Gorillaz’s new release is quite what I expected – unique, computerised, political. But whether it’s been pulled off in the right way is debateable.

Gorillaz – Humanz: 7/10

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – The Gorillaz – Hallelujah Money 

The Gorillaz are back! They are finally back! And with the Mercury Prize winning singer, pianist and songwriter Benjamin Clementine! It’s an anti-Trump song too! It has all of this going for it, yet, it doesn’t quite work. The eccentric beats and production that the Gorillaz are so well known for is on clear display throughout but it clashes with Clementine classical dramatic voice, especially through what is an ear-pricking first verse where his voice seems out of synch with the beats. The two diametric styles don’t quite mesh together and you wonder if the Gorillaz would have been better off slightly adapting their style to fit in with Clementine’s unique, yet amazing voice. On the brighter side, it does have a powerful chorus where Clementine’s vocals stretch out more and backing vocals echoes his sentiment of how money has been worshipped in the US election. Finishing with SpongeBob SquarePants screaming and we have our first track from the Gorillaz in six years. It’s not one of their best tracks it must be said (it’s not even the best anti-Trump song*) but they’re back and we all know better tracks will be on the way.

Thanks for reading,

 

*If you’re still wanting some more anti-Trump songs then give YG – FDT a listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlIREcAu0PI

 

Callum Christie