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GUESS WHO'S BACK: GORILLAZ ALBUM PREVIEW


The experimental quartet known eponymously as Gorillaz exploded onto the alternative scene nearly twenty years ago, unleashing hit after hit throughout the years (such as “Rock the House”, “Clint Eastwood”, “Feel Good Inc.”, and “Stylo”). Alas, Gorillaz have barely made a peep since the release of their back-to-back albums Plastic Beach and The Fall in 2010. Known for their cartoon avatars and avant-garde, genre-defying sound, Gorillaz have amassed quite a following since the late nineties, and have been sorely missed by fans. On March 23rd, after a seven year recording-hiatus, Gorillaz finally broke their long silence, releasing four new singles. Essentially: Gorillaz are back, and they’re back with a vengeance.

Last month, Gorillaz dropped (out of nowhere) four new singles boasting a myriad of featured artists (such as D.R.A.M, Popcaan, and more), synth-pop sounds, poetic lyrics, and hip-hop beats. The viral buzz began immediately, with fans flocking to Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit to voice their joyous praises of the band’s new songs. The reception was overwhelmingly positive, and Gorillaz are currently enjoying a level of fame they have not been able to achieve since the iconic release of “Feel Good Inc.”. Riding this massive wave of momentum, the Gorillaz plan to release an album (featuring the four new songs) on April 28th, 2017. The new album will be called Humanz, and features an impressive length at twenty-six tracks strong. Along with a new album, of course, comes rumors of a highly-anticipated tour; sadly, no tour dates have been announced, but they will be playing a set at their very own Demon Dayz Festival in Margate on June 10th, 2017.

As for the four new songs themselves, I’ll break it down for y’all right here:

The first single of the four is the ultra-anthemic “We Got the Power”, featuring Jehnny Beth. “We Got the Power” begins with the uplifting lyrics, “we got the power to be loving each other, no matter what happens”, sung over a cinematic tune featuring a tolling bell and a rising crescendo of bass which erupts into a full-on techno beat. The rest of the song follows suit, with Jehnny Beth periodically chanting French phrases over the amalgamous whole of bass, synthesizers, and a looping chorus, which repeats the uplifting lyrics I mentioned before. The song is relatively short, coming in at only two minutes and twenty seconds long, but it sets the tone for the three other, and more experimental, singles that follow.

The next single, featuring Vince Staples, is titled “Ascension”. This song begins with a blaring siren and Vince Staples rapping overtly-political, vaguely slam-poetic lyrics. As the siren fades a synthy-space tune comes into play (featuring backup vocals by what sounds like a church choir, and the occasional sample of a beat similar to the one found in the intro of Drake’s “Hotline Bling”). Vince Staples raps the catchy hook, “the sky’s falling baby; drop that ass ‘fore it crash”. This song is also relatively short, being only two minutes and thirty six seconds long, with Vince Staples dropping a verse between each repetition of the hook. The song is obviously political, but that is part of it’s avant-garde charm; the song serves to point out the irony of blatant racial inequality in the “land of the free”. The song’s catchy hook and current political atmosphere make it a banger, to say the least.

The third single, “Andromeda”, features D.R.A.M, and opens up with yet another synth-pop/techno beat (basically straight from the year 2001), complete with overarching high-notes that cascade into a series of dreamy, melodic vocals. The recurring lyrics, “take it in your heart now lover; take it in your heart”, set up a peaceful, happy tone for the whole of the track, which explodes into a synth/bass extravaganza, ending with the repetition of the word “andromeda”. The repeated, half-sung-half-spoken words over the songs outro create a spacey, atmospheric feeling that lingers into the following track, which is *drum roll, please*…

“Saturnz Barz”, my personal favorite, and definitely among the best tracks Gorillaz have ever released. “Saturnz Barz” features the rapper Popcaan, and he immediately opens up the song with a sly laugh, teasing what is to come. A distant, automated voice is heard over the bass-heavy track, stating, “PRESS THE BUTTON TO BEGIN”, and Popcaan abruptly reenters with the recurring lyrics, “all my life”. Each bar of Popcaan’s verses begin with these three words, which become central to the song’s rhythm and motion. The hook, however, is not Popcaan’s; rather, it is the band’s lead vocalist, Damon Albarn (AKA “2-D”), singing in a sultry voice: “I’m in the stakin’ bar, I got debts; I’m a debaser. Saturn’s about to make love and I’m just a heartbreaker…” This goes on for a while over the continuously bass-heavy hip-hop beat, and the song ends with Albarn’s fading out vocals over a more trance-centric beat, singing: “In a mirrored world, are you beside me, all my life?” Words cannot explain how seriously awesome this song is. Just listen to it. DO IT.

Overall, the four new Gorillaz tracks make me hella excited for their upcoming album. In the words of my best friend (and huge Gorillaz fan) Tyler Sullivan, “this band has been around for twenty years and they’ve never disappointed me”. https://www.gorillaz.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Gorillaz/ https://twitter.com/gorillaz https://www.youtube.com/user/gorillaz

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