This album does not disappoint! Even 17 years after the release of their first album, the British virtual band, GORILLAZ, still harnesses their ability to take you on a musical journey with their mastery at blending every musical genre imaginable. Singles off the album started being released on May 31st; “Lake Zurich” and “Humility”, then on June 7 “Sorcererz, “Fire Flies” on June 14 and “Hollywood” on June 21.
This 11 song album quite literally takes the listener on a journey through places and moments, and a taste of political commentary. Four of the songs on the album are named after places; “Hollywood”, “Kansas”, “Idaho” and “Lake Zurich”. I could almost imagine this set of songs as a possible EP of their own. Of the four, I have to pick out “Hollywood” as my favorite – to be honest, it is my favorite off the entire album.
“Hollywood” has this infectious laid back Summer groove to it and is a collab with Jamie Principle and Snoop Dog. This is the third time Gorillaz and Snoop Dog have collaborated. Damon Albarn captures so many elements of Summer in the duration of this 40 minute album, however, this song is what conjures up the images of Summer in a famous city on the West Coast in its entirety. It is just as calming as it is unnerving. It begins as a hype song with Jamie Principal chanting “Where the beautiful people at? I said where the beautiful people at? Beautiful people clap your hands, Freaky people clap your hands, Geeky people clap your hands, Everybody clap your hands.” Then the chorus slaps you in the face with “Hollywood is alright, Hollywood is vagrant, Jealousy is gunfire, it makes you kill the vibe (She’s a wonderful thing) Jealousy and dark times, sinking on the web, there’s more to love than that, jealousy is vibe down, jealousy is vibe down.” The song was produced in Hollywood with the assistance of Remi Kabaka and James Ford.
The other song on the album that’s a collaboration is “Humility” with George Benson. His jazz and funk style guitar techniques creates an extremely prominent layer of the music. This is by far the most luscious sounding song on the album, and is my second favorite off the album next to “Hollywood.” The music video for “Humility,” features an appearance by Jack Black as well.
Gorillaz has been known for their animated music videos and expertise in mixing an unbelievable range of genres. After hearing this album, it is clear that these skills have not been lost and further proves that when there are mentions of collaborative projects from Gorillaz, they are going to be purely stellar.
Check out the track “Hollywood” below: