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Man and ape make music

Kimberly Stelly, kstelly@lmcexperience.com

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If you were trying to figure out how to categorize the Gorillaz, you’d have a difficult time. A band as popular as this one can usually be associated with specific genres, but not the Gorillaz.

   If you’re asking why, you needn’t look further than the collaborators they’ve chosen to work with for their fifth studio album “Humanz.”

   From working with hot artists in the hip-hop scene  — Vince Staples and Danny Brown  — to working with artists big in the alternative R&B scene  — Kalela and Kali Uchis, the versatility that is this animated group is evident.

   The best collaborations on the album come from unexpected sources. Who would have ever put Carly Simon, Pusha T, and Grace Jones on the same album?

   In the past, they have worked with artists like De La Soul, Andre 3000 and this album is no different in showing the Gorillaz’ ability to adjust to the modern music scene.

Though each track on this album is unique, there is one consistent element to every Gorillaz album: Damon Albarn or 2D’s sleepy, monotone voice dispersed through each track, Though the spotlight is meant to focus on the collaborators, one can’t help but experience a bout of nostalgia when hearing his voice on any song especially the melancholy “Busted and Blue.”

   This album has proven to open a new chapter for the Gorillaz. The preparation for this album was different even in its advertising stage.

   First came the sudden creation of Instagram account by the band, then came the Gorillaz phone app which allows you to explore the “Spirit House” referenced in the album’s music video for their first single “Saturnz Barz” featuring Popcaan. The animation of the characters has also changed. Instead of co-creator Jamie Hewlett’s signature 2D style of animation so to speak, there is a simpler three-dimensional style, which has gotten criticism for its simplicity.

   However, the visuals are still relevant to the songs they accompany add more to the long, intricate backstories of the Gorillaz.

   Though not every song has had official videos released, there are “placeholder” visuals to accompany their songs that still manage to capture the mood and tone of each track.

   Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this 26-track album is the fact that there is zero filler. The closest the album comes to filler tracks are the interludes  — there are seven total.

   Outside of that, there are no bad songs. Some of them like “Momentz” featuring previous collaborators, De la Soul and the two-minute “Circle of Friendz” aren’t particularly catchy, but they aren’t terrible to listen to.

   But this still puts “Humanz” as one of their most stylistically diverse albums. I’d say it’s hard to listen to the album all the way through because different moods and messages are conveyed through each song.

   If you’re in for a night of existential contemplation, you’ll be into “Busted and Blue” or if you want to get work done, you’d be better off listening to the more upbeat tracks like “Ascension” or the feel good track “We Got the Power.”

    Whichever way you’re feeling, there’s a song for every occasion with this album.

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The student news site of Los Medanos College
Man and ape make music