'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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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12 Songs That Prove You're A Sucker For The Jonas Brothers

It's been a long, long time.

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This past week, the Jonas Brothers released a song and music video starring their wives (and in Joe's case, fiancee), completely shocking fans given the fact that there was pretty much no prior warning. As rumors are running rampant about their getting back together and a possible tour, now seems like a good time to reflect on their past. Specifically, my favorite songs that they've written. And if the rumors are true...I hope to find new favorites soon.

1. "Inseparable"

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5. "Can't Have You"

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