Gorillaz mix cheerful music with darker themes on new album


“The Now Now” is a great summer album, capturing the upbeat tone of the warmth and freedom of these summer months. While the music itself may seem easygoing and carefree, the lyrics present themes of loneliness and change. The forty minute album is a joy to listen through, and adds to the Gorillaz already stellar discography.

For those of you that don’t know, Gorillaz are a virtual band from England that have been performing since 1998. A virtual band is just like any other band, except that the main members are animated, and are different personas than the band’s human counterparts. While Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett are the creators of Gorillaz, the virtual members are always in the spotlight. There is even an extensive backstory and mythology to the virtual members that has been established by the creators.

“The Now Now” is the sixth album released by Gorillaz, a little over a year after the release of their last album, “Humanz.” “The Now Now” contrasts with “Humanz” in that there is a much smaller amount of features on the new album, with there being three on “The Now Now” versus “Humanz” sixteen.

Because of the fewer features on the album, “The Now Now” has a much more consistent tone than the previous album. The voice of Damon Albarn and the rest of the Gorillaz is more prevalent than ever in this album.

The first singles to be released were “Humility” and “Lake Zurich.” “Humility” is the standout song on the album, featuring a “happy-go-lucky,” optimistic groove that contrasts with the loneliness of the lyrics. With lines like “I’m the lonely twin, the left hand” and “I don’t want this isolation,” the idea being painted by this song is that 2D (the virtual lead singer of Gorillaz, voiced by Albarn) feels truly alone, and doesn’t see an escape from it.

This is supported by another line in the song, “Or do I head out on to the lonesome track and let you go?” All of these lines together point to the song being about the loneliness felt by the artist after being left by someone important to him.

Themes of loneliness recur throughout the album. In the song “Kansas,” 2D talks about a journey home alone. Other songs like “Fire Flies” and “Souk Eye” continue to dwell on this theme, with the lyrics talking about missing someone from the singer’s life in “Souk Eye,” and the cost of losing someone being the focus of “Fire Flies.”

Another main track off the album, “Tranz,” the lyrics focus on the self destruction of the singer. 2D asks someone about their self destructive habits through asking them if they turn into an effigy of themselves and burn it, and asking that person if they burn like he does. The artist is trying to find someone to relate to his situation, so that he can feel validated.

Overall, this album is a delightful introspective of a virtual person, providing more emotion to these characters that have been around for 20 years.

Rating: 4.5/5