Gorillaz recently released their new album, Humanz (Deluxe), April 28. The album is lengthy, with 26 songs total. The collection of songs includes collaborations with 22 other artists, including D.R.A.M., De La Soul, Pusha T and Zebra Katz.
Due to the diversity of musical artists represented, the album has a unique collective sound overall, and each track has an individual identity.
The album begins with a recording called “Intro: I Switched My Robot Off.” At only 24 seconds, the track is simple, and just repeats the words: “And I know more / But retain less / Retain less.” These words are stated in a techno-voice, which accompanies a futuristic buzzing background.
Then, immediately following this introduction, “Ascension (feat. Vince Staples)” begins, with a natural-sounding flow between the two. Similar to the first track, this energizing song has a steady techno beat behind the lyrics.
The album is consistent with the theme of shorter songs with interludes throughout in between short sets of songs. While different in nature, “Interlude: Elevator Going Up,” “Interlude: Talk Radio,” “Interlude: Penthouse,” “Interlude: The Elephant” and “Interlude: New World” all exclude feature artists and offer the opportunity for Gorillaz to reassert their personal style.
Through these interludes, Gorillaz curates an intentional atmosphere for the listener that might remind one of the specific places, situations and ideas noted in the titles.
While each song is fascinating, the song “Momentz (feat. De La Soul)” stands out for its beat that deviates from the others. It begins with a basic electronic melody, and then switches to a chant stating “Clocks on the wall / Talk to watches on the wrist / It’s the moments we relive / It’s the moments like this.” Then, there is a constant drumbeat, along with a rap throughout the song, in addition to unexpected pauses and breaks in the rhythm that make for an interesting listening experience.
“We Got The Power (feat. Jehnny Beth)” is an extremely inspirational, motivating track. The lyrics, “I got my heart full of hope / I will change everything / No matter what I’m told / How impossible it seems” serve as a reminder to stay positive and believe in one’s own potential. It’s ultimately an anthem about capability and the importance of working hard to make change.
The concluding song of the album, “Circle of Friendz (feat. Brandon Markell Homes)” is a change of pace from the preceding sound, with a slower, more sentimental tone. It could be considered a metaphorical tribute to Gorillaz’s wide circle of “friends” in the music world who collaborated with them to help produce the album.
With Humans (Deluxe), Gorillaz stays true to its musical reputation with a mixture of electronic, jazz and rap music, while simultaneously highlighting other musicians’ talents and successfully creating a unified body of work.