After a two-year hiatus, the virtual alternative British band, Gorillaz, just released a new single. They collaborated with British rapper, Slowthai, and American band, Slaves, to produce the new song. Gorillaz started to tease the release of songs throughout the year and starting out with this one, shows that they are off to a great start.
The new album, or project, they’ve been working on is called “Song Machine.” To me, seeing the character artwork posted in advertisements and the use of instruments in their videos, shows they are going back to a time when Gorillaz was a more independent name. With their new single titled, “Momentary Bliss,” its clear to me that’s what they’re going for.
The song starts with a laid back tone that’s carried out by a chill guitar riff played by Noodle and the chorus led by the singer of Slaves. However, the song begins a build-up into a faster pace and it doesn’t slow down. This is accomplished by Slowthai and his duet with 2-D. When this happens, the song goes crazy into a punk-rock style they were known for in their early work. The song ends the way it began with the singer of Slaves singing the chorus calmly.
Since Gorillaz is a band starring animated characters created by Damon Albarn, this new song seems to be playing with Gorillaz’s strengths of being a fictional band. Gorillaz released several videos on their YouTube page of recorded phone calls with Slowthai about the possible meaning of the song. As far as interpretations, I believe the song is talking about how the majority of people go through life in search of brief moments of happiness and how we should strive for more. The tone they created along with the lyrics gives this track an uplifting vibe and it makes me eager to see what they do next.
Another great quality of this song is its fusion of genres. This new song has inspirations of hardcore rap, early 2000s punk-rock, and modern-day hip-hop. Gorillaz has been known for using this tactic since their first album simply titled, “Gorillaz.” However, this new song has a nice blend of modern trends of music with a mixture of nostalgia fans of the band will appreciate.
The song has a quirky quality even with its more hardcore moments. Every moment in this song has layers you can peel back. It’s as if you can dig through the song and find beats and melodies you didn’t hear the first time. Everything from the lyrical delivery to the music makes it fun to listen to over and over again.
As far as negatives, it’s not really with the song but rather Gorillaz as a whole. They’ve always been known to do collaborations with other artists in the past, but I do wish they would come out with more songs made by them exclusively. Luckily, they plan on releasing new songs throughout the year, so hopefully we can hear some pure Gorillaz tracks.
When listening to Gorillaz throughout the years, it’s nice to say with this new song I instantly liked it and eventually loved it. I’m excited to see what the band has in store this year and in future projects.