Going into this album I knew next to nothing about the Gorillaz outside of a few of their hit records and the fact that they use animated characters to represent themselves in their music videos. They’ve always intrigued me and I had always planned on checking out a full length but I never got around to it, and their lengthy hiatus really caused them to slip my mind all together. But they are finally back with new music and this time I was sure to check out all they have to offer. So this a newbie’s reaction to his very first Gorillaz listening experience with Humanz.
For whatever reason I always assumed they were a pop rock outfit and that may very well have been the case with their previous albums, but Humanz is literally impossible to classify genre wise. When I say literally, I mean literally. This thing is all over the place with sounds from pop to hip-hop to funk to rock to anything and everything in between. It’s honestly a daunting listen, and not just due to it’s incredibly lengthy 26 track listing but because you’re ripped from wildly different sound to another. There’s no sense of cohesion here that at times makes it hard even for someone like me who listens to a vast range of musical styles to get into any kind of vibe with the album. I found myself skipping around trying to find the parts I like. With that being said, the parts of the album that I liked, I really liked. “The Apprentice” is by and far my favorite track on the album with it’s incredible groove, “Ascension” has such dope synth loops, and “Andromeda” is soo bouncy. There’s some incredible stuff on here, just not all of it.
“All these liberated women sitting in my lap
I’m finna catch a body like I got a gun and badge
I’m finna turn Obama to my partner ‘fore he dash
Pull up to the pad, wipe my ass with the flag
I’m just playin’, baby, this the land of the free
Where you can get a Glock and a gram for the cheap”
Lyrically, Humanz is as all over the place as the production. There’s no central theme to the album and their list of guest features is as varied as it is long. With the exception of “Busted and Blue” there’s a guest feature on every single song of the album. They all do admirable jobs and bring a lot to their respective songs, especially considering most of them are working outside their normal genres, but because there were so many guest features I never got a great sense of who and what the Gorillaz actually sound like. The whole album felt like Gorillaz and friends which is why they probably intentionally named the last “song” of Humanz “Circle of Friendz.”
Have you heard Humanz? What’d you think about it? How does it compare to their other albums? Seriously, I wanna know. Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
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