Hundreds of people in New York's Time Square hold up their smartphones and stare spellbound at the screens. It shows the gigantic members of the virtual band Gorillaz, who appear to be using the world-famous square as a stage for a performance.
The scene took place in December at the launch of the song "Skinny Ape". The accompanying album "Cracker Island" will be released this Friday. It is the fictional band's seventh studio album.
Support from well-known musicians
The Brit Damon Albarn is behind the music of the comic band members Murdoc Niccals, 2-D, Noodle and Russel Hobbs, who repeatedly cooperates with other top-class musicians. For the new album, he has teamed up with Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) and Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, among others. The result is an album that is in no way inferior to the previous records.
Albarn, also known for his role as the frontman of Britpop band Blur, proves once again to be a musical genius who knows no genre boundaries. Crossover, hip-hop, indie rock, Latin and a pinch of funk - the new Gorillaz album is fun because it's so versatile. Still, it has that unmistakable Gorillaz sound that runs through the ten songs on the record.
Title between danceable and thoughtful
The song "Cracker Island" is a thoroughly danceable piece with funk elements, for which Albarn brought US bassist Thundercat on board. "Silent Running" is a thoughtful track reminiscent of soul classics. In the melancholic "Skinny Ape" the bass guitar dominates after a folky start. For "New Gold," Albarn collaborated with rapper Bootie Brown and psychedelic music project Tame Impala.
His lyrics are "a bunch of weird nonsense, it's garbage," says Albarn in an interview excerpt that can be seen on his Instagram appearance. "The first verse is about the kind of hypnotic nature of beauty and how dangerous that can be," Albarn says of Silent Running. In any case, an interpretation of the lyrics is not easy and not necessarily wanted.
Album creates images in your head
But maybe that's what makes the Gorillaz lyrics so good: the meaning can be interpreted and contextualized by the listener himself. Even those who can't relate to the dark, creepy aesthetics of the comic universe created by artist Jamie Hewlett should listen to the songs. The music alone awakens memories and associations, creates images in the mind and weaves stories.
Albarn describes the creation of the song "Silent Running," which he "subconsciously" drew inspiration from the sci-fi film of the same name, as "the mesmerizing state you're in when one follows a thought". With the new Gorillaz album, he invites you to get lost in your thoughts as well.