The Now Now by Gorillaz
Written by Jeff Ramella on November 2, 2018
Reviewed by Nate Williams
The English virtual band and alternative rock icons Gorillaz, created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, released their sixth studio album, The Now Now, amidst their 20th anniversary. The Now Now takes place during Phase 5 of the band’s fictional storyline and amidst another signature change in sound, something they make a point to do with every album. This particular release features funk, synth-pop, new wave, and soul elements combine to give the overall title the feel of a perfect summer evening, like sitting on the beach after a long day trip with your closest friends, watching the sun set as the album plays from your friend’s dad’s SUV that they got permission to drive with all the doors and the trunk open, treating it like your own private indie music festival. (That means the album is good.) Boasting features by Snoop Dogg and Jack Black, the team of 4 proves they’ve still got it even after two whole decades, telling us to find our true selves and subtly telling us why Brexit will only break the togetherness of the world.
Gorillaz, in a departure from their previous works, gave the album a more “vibey” instrumentation overall. The synth-heavy rhythms heard throughout the songs are reserved in a way, but they possess a certain power that energizes most of the LP’s eleven tracks. The songs without synths are very self-reflective, in a sad and sweet manner. This immersive mixture produces a lava lamp feeling of musical genius reminiscent of Daft Punk’s albums Discovery and Random Access Memories in one place. On “Humility”, the album’s first single and first song, lead singer 2-D expresses his starvation for unity as legendary guitarist George Benson provides the song with a pink and blue vision of summer, while Jack Black runs around Venice Beach with a guitar. Later, “Sorcererz”, arguably one of the funkiest songs on The Now Now, urges listeners to take a look at themselves from the perspective of a stranger, and to stay individual in the midst of a conformist society as precise synths and melodies grace the speakers. Finally, “Tranz” calls back to a sound Gorillaz have not used in over a decade, but the bass and keyboard in the song is guaranteed to make veteran fans smile wide as soon as it starts.
As one of their most well-received albums since Demon Days, The Now Now is the soundtrack to a unified world and a call to action for us all to better ourselves in a way that makes us happy from the outside in.\
Rating: 4.5/5 Jack Blacks
Highlights: “Humility,” “Sorcererz,” and “Tranz”