The famous pop icons Gorillaz released four new tracks off the upcoming album “Humanz” March 23. Gorillaz is a band composed of cartoon characters created by “Tank Girl,” a famous British comic book created by Jamie Hewlett. Music for the Gorillaz is composed by Damon Albarn of Blur fame, a band from London that debuted in 1988.
Starting off is the song “Ascension,” featuring Vince Staples. Overall, this track reminds me a lot of 2016. Quite possibly because it never stops saying “everything sucks from 2016,” in the song. Not that everything that sucks is from 2016, just that everything from 2016 sucked - there’s a big difference.
Staples then goes on to say if everything was apocalyptic, we would all see what we really are as people. This track tries to say a lot about people and culture, but Staples’ delivery doesn’t mesh well. Staples makes a lot of outlandish statements based on his own observations about people that I’m sure are going to anger someone who actually pays attention to the song’s lyrics. However, that’s just Staples.
Albarn has a rather interesting verse that basically mirrors Staples with a slightly different perspective. Where Staples is very much grounded in today’s world, Albarn has a retrospective tone to his verse that makes it look more as someone who’s seen the past repeating today, and makes commentary on what makes these events different from what has already happened. This song takes a more interesting turn when you consider the two different perspectives between the much more experienced Albarn and the young Staples, which is awesome on paper. In reality, Albarn just comes off as the best part of the track, which is kind of shame, since Staples takes a majority of it. I would feel better about Staples if the chorus he raps out was better. Just listen, you’ll get what I mean.
Next is “We Got the Power,” for anybody who misses hippie love and peace songs. “We Got the Power” is more a gospel rally about everything that you as person can do to improve the world. “We Got the Power” is incredibly upbeat for Gorillaz, which comes off as refreshing, but surprisingly alien at the same time. If “We Got the Power” was a person it would be that aunt that aggressively stands before you at family gatherings demanding you stop hanging out with your bad influence uncle, and constantly tries to inspire you to do better in life.
“We Got the Power” works well off the negative and some of the darker stuff out there, but it doesn’t seem like a track that can easily stand on its own to make this album a success.
Then there’s the big one, “Saturnz Barz”. This track feels like “Clint Eastwood,” off the original “Gorillaz” album, had a baby with “Feel Good Inc.,” from “Demon Days,” both by Gorillaz, and was raised on the “Plastic Beach” album. It’s a real treat to anyone who has followed the group for a while and has listened to all Gorillaz albums.
The song features, “Popcaan,” and well, they do a good job with the line “All my life.” Somehow, they manage to repeat that over and over again, but it sounds fine. Albarn has a wonderful part in this track, taking over the chorus to leave some deadpan deliveries that are very introspective, as well as a bittersweet bridge that puts sad imagery all over the song. What seems like a bouncy song turns into a sadder look at life. Popcaan paints a picture of someone who’s coming to realize everything they have ever wanted, while Albarn sings about someone who’s reached everything, hates it and wants to nothing more than the old human connections they once had, only now they are just surrounded by technology - their only constant companion.
This whole, bouncy tune to a deadpan look at life atmosphere is one of the reason’s I love Gorillaz. The previous album “Feel Good Inc.,” is the same exact way, except about consumer culture.
Let the unhealthy chemically unbalanced people enjoy their song about fleet dreams and losing relationships.