Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez

Gorillaz - Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2020 Ratings: #200 / 868
User Score
2020 Ratings: #54
Liked by 575 people
Sign In to rate and review


Gorillaz can often be a hard band to define, and their records haven't always fared well in the context they're released in - in 2020 though, it all makes perfect sense.
The Young Folks

The band plays with feature artists like a grandmaster plays with chess pieces; weaving them in confusing, but intelligent ways until it results in a complete victory.

Spectrum Culture

Juggling a wide range of genres and features, Gorillaz return to peak form on Song Machine.

The Needle Drop
Gorillaz compiles a bunch of damn good singles to make a damn good album.
The Irish Times
Great songs sandwiched between the disposable and cartoonish.
Louder Than War

The canny duo of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett return to their virtual best and can still pull the big guns from up their cartoon sleeves, as you will witness on this sprawling guest filled dystopian journey of technicolor tunes that still grab from every genre, which Albarn does best, masquerading as the infamous 2D.

Record Collector
The euphoria is a consistent thread through everyone from Robert Smith to the blissful return of Imagination's Leee John, via Elton John whooping it up with Atlanta rapper 6lack.
The Arts Desk
Corralling this many voices is a feat in itself, but to do it in a way that makes so much sense… that’s quite extraordinary.

Through the Song Machine, Gorillaz prove more so than ever before that in their world, they can do just about anything.

The Observer
Damon Albarn is the melodic anchor to this pioneering album that balances concept with fun.
Of all of the guest-heavy Gorillaz albums, this is by some margin the leanest, meanest and grooviest set of the lot.
The Independent
Over time Gorillaz’ sonic cartoonishness has dissipated, as Albarn used the vehicle to express his political discontent and explore cutting edge sounds with freedom and abandon.

Ultimately, this first installment of Song Machine ... is the most cohesive Gorillaz album since Demon Days 15 years ago.

The Guardian
Damon Albarn’s cartoon band mark their 20th anniversary with a record whose star guests – Elton John, Robert Smith and St Vincent among them – are folded into a fluent, brilliant whole.
Gorillaz should be applauded for their virtuosity, and at its best ‘Strange Timez’ is a glorious document of pop-without-barriers.
The Line of Best Fit
Its maximalist aesthetics and musical creativity combine to make something intensely addictive and satisfying, but it’s still inherently hard to put your finger on what exactly it is.
‘Strange Timez’s real triumph is in the curation of its featured artists – a flagrant disregard for the rule of six has resulted in some spectacular moments.

Strange Timez doesn’t break a whole lot of new ground, but it’s Damon Albarn’s strongest release since Plastic Beach and an infectious celebration of the unique legacy of Gorillaz.

Entertainment Weekly

Strange Timez adds a delightful new chapter in Gorillaz’s ongoing tale of cross-pollination.

Consequence of Sound
Once again, Gorillaz’s ability to infuse their immaculately polished and idiosyncratic production with the wide-ranging talents of their guests is commendable, too, ensuring that their work remains charmingly singular by default.
FLOOD Magazine

Rather than assume that the glut of guest stars and features pushes Albarn to the back of his own party, guess again. Every note and nuance of Song Machine bristles with the Blur frontman’s zotzed-out vision and eclecticism.

The appropriateness of coining ‘Strange Timez’ at this moment doesn’t need an explanation, but Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s cartoon crew have always excelled at a particular brand of dystopia that feels all-too suitable for this year.
Rolling Stone
As always, Albarn’s ability to create dubby, drifting synthetic beauty — a kind of futurist pastoralism — remains a key ingredient to his music’s distracted wonder.
The Forty-Five
An all-star cast of collaborators help the cartoon band tap into a new, spontaneous spirit.

Strange Timez may have followed a different template than previous Gorillaz albums, but it is unmistakably a Gorillaz album, a record that hides its melancholy among a series of sunny, genre-bending fusions.

Loud and Quiet

Season One of Song Machine has a lot to offer in terms of inventive collaborations and experiments. It’s an intentionally mixed bag, but there’s surprising thematic consistency from Albarn, with his toybox approach to sound design and genre fusion. It’ll be well worth renewing a second season.


Song Machine is an absolute joy to listen to. It feels like a celebration of music and sound. This is the most consistent Gorillaz has been in a very long time.


#14 of my Top 50 Albums of 2020:

This album is basically Humanz… but awesome

Alright, this is gonna be a long one, so strap in! Gorillaz had a bit of a rough last decade. They started it off really well with Plastic Beach, their best album yet! It featured their best and most iconic production, they’re most conceptual assortment of tracks, and it boasted such an impressive feature list. That record ... read more


Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez by Gorillaz is somewhat of a return to form. For roughly the past decade, the band has been releasing some questionable albums, some of which even devoted fans hate. This, for me at least, is easily their best record since Plastic Beach. Season one of Song Machine sounds like it comes from another dimension, one a lot less dreadful than the one we currently reside in. Though it still references these 'strange times' which the world is currently dealing ... read more


great concept but to much feature for an album, who care its still good thats all


Their best album since Plastic Beach. Every song is amazing (except Friday the 13th), and recaptures the charm that was missing from Humanz and The Now Now. Damon Albarn’s vocals are great, and the choice of features on each song is perfect. Overall its great.


White man approved.

Purchasing Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?
Become a Donor
Donor badge, no ads + more benefits.

Please stay on topic. To go off topic, head to the General Chat.

Sign in to comment

Added on: September 9, 2020