Gorillaz have finally released their long awaited fifth album Humanz.
By Jane Howkins
Despite having some mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, Humanz is a natural progression for the group that both meets and surpasses expectations.
Gorillaz originally started out as a side project for britpop megastar Damon Albarn, with the express purpose of poking fun at the modern pop industry. Oh, how the tables have turned, as the majority of Humanz sounds less like and less like a caricature of pop music, and more and more like an actual pop record. Whereas Gorillaz used to have quite a distinctive sound to their music, it now fits in with most of the stuff doing the rounds on BBC Radio 1. Consequently, it will be interesting to see whether Humanz will stay relevant after it’s been out for a few months.
That’s the main reason that a lot of people seem to have been turned off Gorillaz’ latest offering. However, it is worth digging a little deeper into Humanz, as there are some real gems here. We particularly recommend Busted And Blue and She’s My Collar. Furthermore, a collaboration with Benjamin Clementine on Hallelujah Money was an unexpected (but lovely) surprise, so there is plenty of good stuff to check out. The dystopian feeling that has pervaded much of Gorillaz’ work is also still present for the most part, which is a welcome experience.
Humanz almost sounds as if Albarn is gearing up to let go of the project, and release it out to other players, with both the title of the album and the musical direction hinting at that. It is very different to what people might be expecting, but there are still some good moments to be had. After all, a new generation of listeners can now get on board.