'Humanz' Strays Away From Gorillaz's Typical Sound

'Humanz' Strays Away From Gorillaz's Typical Sound

A review of the latest Gorillaz release
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It’s been seven years since the last Gorillaz album and since I got to see them live at the Patriot Center in DC. Over the course of those seven years Damon Albarn, the mastermind behind the musical side of the Gorillaz, released his first ever solo album, briefly reunited with blur for a new album and tour, started the African funk supergroup Rocket Juice & the Moon with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and created at least two operatic stage shows with Dr. Dee and wonder.land. The musical madman of has kept busy, organizing one oddball idea after another, exploring a variety of genres and styles, injecting each with his personal brand of English melancholia.

Now with the release of "Humanz," the fourth phase of Gorillaz and the fifth mainline studio album for the group, Damon Albarn has created something dark, upbeat and bathed in synths. "Humanz" is a party album for the end of the world, a final blowout celebration of life and fun and debauchery as an Armageddon of chaos rages outside. It is formed of the same electronic DNA as "Plastic Beach" and "The Fall," yet there is a thickness to its production and thematic darkness reminiscent of "Demon Days'" apocalyptic wonderland. The beats are often bangers, the synths gorgeous and warbled and the vocals range are devious, playful, smirking, and at times, poetic.

The album fits its strange narrative ideas, a discombobulated soundtrack for an “end of the world party” that rushes through phases of melancholy and regret to sinful insanity. It can be seen as narratively disjointed, but to me that works to its advantage, as Damon’s vocals only rarely waft into the thick haze of keyboards and drum machines. Albarn becomes more of a curator for the huge guest list to this grand, debauched finale of humanity and "Humanz" becomes a pseudo-playlist. The narrative is far from linear, even the interludes only act more as a thematic set dressing than some sort of exposition.

What "Humanz" lacks is the classic Gorillaz marriage of organic instrumentals with electronica, opting to focus in on the digital and synthetic. While this works extremely well, many will likely be disappointed by the absence of classic instrumentation being creatively paired with crappy drum machines, ‘80s synths and modern loops. Without the more distinct sounds, it can take a few listens to really pick apart the songs and differentiate them properly. This can be seen as both a success and a shortcoming of the album depending on how you choose to look at it.

On the one hand, it can feel like a slog to those who don’t take the time to dissect the album and its tracks. On the other hand, however, it can become a meandering exploration of this bizarre apocalypse. Fueled by politics, social unrest, and the desperation to remain human through the worst of it all, "Humanz" becomes a wonderland of synthetic madness. It bucks a strict narrative of sound and song in favor of a great, pulsating monstrosity of feelings and thoughts shared over drinks and drugs in a packed club as the world collapses outside.

Cover Image Credit: rapWAVE

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The 10 Most Overrated Halloween Costumes College Girls ALWAYS Choose

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We've all been there. How hard is it to come up with a creative Halloween costume? Or is it? Here are 10 of the most overrated Halloween costumes that you should NEVER do again.

SEE ALSO: 11 Feminist Halloween Costumes You Don't Need Cleavage To Feel Sexy In

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2. Risky Business


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6. Police

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18 Types Of Mini-Golfers You Come Across On An 18-Hole Course

Which type of mini-golfer are YOU?

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Mini-golf: A fun activity that has been around since 1916. We have all played mini-golf before and have probably played a variety of courses over the year. The one thing you might not always realize is the players around you. Next time you go mini-golfing take a look at those playing around you and see if you can find these 18 types of players. Even see which of these mini-golfers you fit!

The professional golfer.

This is the golfer who always has to look at the hole, line up his shot every time, and takes the rules seriously such as adding a stroke when the ball goes out of bounds. I mean it's mini-golf, you don't need to line up ALL your shots.

The driver.

This is the golfer who drives the ball as if he was on an actual golf course. It's one thing if you have a power swing, but this person typically drives the ball purposefully.

The obnoxious one.

This is the golfer who is just wild and all over the place. They make such a big deal out of every play, might make irrelevant comments, etc. It's just unnecessary.

The cheerleader.

This is the person who is constantly cheering others on. Even if it's a bad play they'll say "awe, it's o.k! You still got this!"

The family with the annoying kids.

This is the family where the parents don't know how to control their kids. This is where the kids will go to the next hole before their parents, destroy some of the property, or even interfere with other people golfing.

The family that tries to act like a family.

This is the family that you can clearly see is just acting like a family. It could be as simple as a family that seems tense and is just playing together to a family where the dad and kids are playing while the mom just walks around with them filing her nails.

The group of 8+.

This is the group that holds EVERYONE up. They don't care if there are 8+ balls on one hole at a time. If you are this group, please let people behind you go ahead.

The inseparable couple.

This is the couple that is all over each other. They're constantly kissing if they aren't playing or they are taking pictures of each other.

The teenage girls.

These are the girls acting all innocent and taking selfies while playing while their parents sit near the entrance for them. It's the only thing they can do without parent supervision.

The oldie.

This is literally a grandma or grandpa who is naturally just slow. They are so adorable, but it'll take a good 2 hours to play a full 18 holes with them because of how slow they move.

The smokers.

These are the people smoking cigs or cigars while playing. Let's just hope they aren't smoking around kids and put their butts in the little buckets at each hole.

The slow pokes.

These are the golfers that just take forever. If you are a slow poke please be considerate of those behind you and let them go ahead of you.

The competitive one.

This is the one who is constantly up in your face about how they're going to win. They are the ones who can't just enjoy a game of mini-golf.

The out of bounder.

This is the golfer who constantly hits the ball out of bounds. At that rate you don't even give them a penalty stroke because they'd be up to 10+ on one hole.

The goofball.

This is the person who just acts silly. They could be the ones using a child's size putter or balancing on different rocks or stumps on the course.

The clueless one.

This is the one who never realizes what hole their on, when it's their turn, or what they are even doing.

The scorekeeper.

This is the golfer who takes keeping score seriously. Or this could just be the person who naturally always keeps score when you go mini-golfing.

The normal couple (or group).

These are the people we all love. It's the people who like some friendly competition, but don't goof around. They move from hole to hole at a good pace and keep to themselves. They also are cognizant of those around them. These are the mini-golfers we all love and should strive to be.

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