2016 was a huge year for music, this year plans to pull out all the stops in order to outdo the last year of seemingly nonstop hits; with this comes a new album from one of the most important and influential groups of all time: Gorillaz. Towards the end of March the group(fronted by Damon Albarn) announced that a new album would indeed be coming out on April 28th, this, of course, led to the collective fans and public losing their minds. Seeing as if it has been about seven years since a release, the hype was understood and soon enough the singles came out to hold fans over for less than a month. The singles which featured Vince Staples, Popcaan, D.R.A.M., Jehnny Beth, Mavis Staples, and Pusha T were very bright and outgoing tracks with endearing vocals by Albarn which excite and balance out the hype that the features bring along with the production. The production is very synthetic and often makes one ponder how the group achieves such a futuristic and electric feel to match the interchanging artists that are featured on this album. With that said, that is one of the flaws of the album, there is only one solo song on the album which contains an impressive 26 songs. The song that doesn’t have a feature(“Busted and Blue”) is one of the best songs on the album which shows that the band doesn’t need all of these names to make a good song, seeing more songs on the list that relied on the emotional feel of Albarn’s voice of 2-D would have been a nice addition.
The interludes are a nice touch to the narrative of the album and are used to set a spacious tone that the album works well with. The album itself is very bright and exciting for the most part, many of the songs are outgoing and a pleasure to listen to. Unfortunately, the album doesn’t have many groundbreaking moments; sure the features are all top-tier and add a strong influence on the songs but most of the songs do sound similar. Perhaps this could be because of my non-stop listening to their other albums and this one but it doesn’t seem that refreshing in comparison. With this said, the songs all are unique while sounding similar; each feature, beat, and theme are all special to each song and that little notion makes the album one of a kind. This is the type of album that can be enjoyed to a higher extent with a certain level of nostalgia, casual listeners will enjoy listening to this feature filled album while fans and those who grew up with this band will just love to hear the Gorillaz sound come alive once more after a seven-year sleep.
I think Humanz is a great album conceptually but execution wise does suffer from the problem of sounding very repetitive but in all fairness, the album is not bad at all for what it is. In 2017 the sound of this album is exactly what I wanted to hear; this album feels and sounds futuristic but at the same time tackles current topics and opinions which is exactly what makes this album work so well. I can see myself listening to Humanz many more times during this year and I for one cannot wait for what they have to offer on their animated series and any more music they decide to release in the future.
Favorite songs: Saturnz Bars, Andromeda, Busted and Blue, Halfway to the Halfway House, Let Me Out, Submission, and Carnival.