The Now Now Review

How does Gorillaz’ latest release hold up?

Matthew Roehm, Layout/Cartoonist

(From left to right) Noodle, Ace, 2D, and Russel (Photo credit: Jamie Hewlett)

Gorillaz is a British alternative band formed in 1998. Formed by singer and multi-instrumentalist Damon Albarn and comic book and pop artist Jamie Hewlett, “The Now Now” is their sixth studio album together. When this album was announced, Damon and Jamie made it seem as if it was a response to their previous album Humanz. A common complaint with Humanz was that it had too many features and not enough Albarn. In this album they had significantly less features and focused more on Albarn’s vocals. For this album, all of the Gorillaz story and fictional band members make a return. 2-D, the spacey pretty boy singer, Noodle, the super soldier guitarist, Russel, the gentle giant drummer, Murdoc, the satanic bassist who for this album in jail and is being replaced by none other than Ace from “The Powerpuff Girls”.

If this album could be summed up in one word, it would be nocturnal. Nearly every cut feels like it’s meant to be played by a summertime campfire. The album starts out with the single “Humility”, which is this cheery, poppy and upbeat song to kick the things off. It is definitely a good cut in its own right, but feels a little disjointed in the context of the whole album. “Tranz” is the second song and is a post-punk inspired Talking Heads-ish song, with Albarn giving a very solid performance. The track “Hollywood” featuring Snoop Dogg and Jamie Principle is the only track to have any features in it and it’s honestly one of the best tracks on the album. Principle’s voice brings so much to this song, with this kind of soulful crazy delivery that just absolutely works with the beat and the tone. This whole track leads up to a verse by none other than Snoop Dogg himself and he really steals the show, it’s clear to see that whenever Snoop and Gorillaz work together, something wonderful is the result.

“Kansas” is a toned down sort of introspection of the character 2-D. The song “Sorcererz” is a funky, very groovy song with an extremely catchy hook. Albarn brings just a superb performance on this track and hits high notes in the verses which just sound amazing. The cut “Idaho” is definitely an uncharacteristic song for Gorillaz, yet keeps up the campfire-y mood. It mainly uses acoustic guitar and features some very dreamy, sleepy vocals and trippy lyrics from Albarn. “Lake Zurich” has a bit of an odd placement on the album, in the midst of these nocturnal, very downbeat songs there’s this mainly instrumental song with bright synths and a cowbell beat. It is very catchy, but definitely feels more in line with Humility than any of the other songs.

The next cut is the outstanding “Magic City”, a slightly glam rock inspired track with Albarn doing his best David Bowie impression. The song “Fireflies” is undeniably the peak of the album’s whole nocturnal vibe. This is a great cut, possibly the best from the album. It has these very creepy and off-putting synths with these fat bass hits that create this mysterious and magical atmosphere that just can’t be beat. “One Percent” is a very slow, moody cut, possibly the slowest of the album. Then the last song “Souk Eye” is mainly centered around this light guitar riff and Albarn’s slightly glam rock inspired vocals. It’s a neat little cut and is a great close to this moody and very interesting album.

“I thought it was in interesting album,” said Vincent Jimenez, senior.“You can clearly see the hip hop, soul and, techno influences. The featured artists really complimented style of the songs and seemed to fit. What would make it a bit better would be if the vocals of the other [Fictional] band members as seen in 19-2000, 5/4, and DARE [Would be present in some of the songs]. Overall an appropriate rating would be an 8/10.”

Overall this was a great album. It had a solid vibe all the way through with some impressive song structure and classic vocals by Albarn. As a whole it feels like a seven out of ten.