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Album Review: Gorillaz – The Now Now
The Now Now is a slower, more simplified work from Gorillaz, as Imogen Mellor argues that it fails to deliver on energy and experimentation
The most successful animated band ever, Gorillaz, released their sixth album The Now Now on June 29th. As a long time fan of the work of Damon Albarn (from Blur) and long time collaborator and cofounder of the band Jamie Hewlett, I was interested to see in what direction they would take the fictional characters and their sound.
“If you think the premise is weird, it’s supposed to be; it’s the vibe that Gorillaz go for
“Being able to hear a character’s voice throughout is one of the best ways to tie an album together
It may just be my music taste changing, but this album seems just a little lacklustre. It’s not to say that the album may not be great to some people, just for me it's a little boring. I found myself on the first few listens of some songs, wanting to skip them and find something more interesting within the album. I always want to love a Gorillaz album. I tried to love this one, but I don’t think I can.
One of the positives or negatives, depending on your preference, about this album is its chill tone throughout. Personally I’ve always preferred the more direct nature of their songs. It's a hard thing to fully explain, but the best way I can, is the way that the band will put an emotion before you and stick to it. However, I find this album just sorts of ambles along. There isn’t much to talk about. It really comes across as a bit of a sad, lonely compilation of music Albarn hasn’t been able to put anywhere else.
That being said, there is some music I do really like on this album. ‘Fire Flies’ has a beat to it that has a nice groove and sort of synth bass line. It’s always a plus when a pop song can handle changing time signatures well and this track seamlessly goes from ¾ to 4/4 really well. Its lyrics are also some of the best from this project, with a message of sorrow about losing someone, making 'Fire Flies' one of the best songs on the album.
‘Souk Eye’ also has a certain something about it. The sort of song you’d want to hear on a Saturday morning when you wake up at 10:30 and you can smell bacon and your curtains are flowing in the wind. Or at least that's when I would like to hear it. It’s nice. It’s cute. It’s everything that the rest of the album isn’t and I love it for that. It’s got a small Latin beat that gives it just that slight danceability without it being a dance song, making it the closest you’d hear the Gorillaz get to Corinne Bailey Rae or Lianne La Havas.
“'Souk Eye' is everything that the rest of the album isn’t and I love it for that
Without a doubt the song that works the least on this album is ‘Idaho’ . If you like a strangely country music inspired, slow ballard style, boring monotone, this song is for you. Gorillaz have proven on many albums that they can do slow well, with songs like ‘New Genius (Brother)’ from their self titled album, or ‘El Manana’ from Demon Days. This is not slow done well. This is slow done to the point of the song dying. That being said, last time I disliked a song this much by Gorillaz, it (We Got The Power, from Humanz) was nominated for several music awards and won a Brit award, so take what I say with a pinch of salt.
“I would give this album a listen if you are interested in a band that have changed their sound a lot over their last few albums