Gorillaz - Humanz
Apr 22, 2017 (updated Apr 22, 2017)
56
Gorillaz' highly-anticipated new studio LP brings Damon Albarn's hyper-dynamic project under a new light. Humanz is an incredibly shimmery, colorful album that translates the virtual band's past ethos into a brand new kaleidoscope of vibrant bits and scattered pieces. The record is everywhere. Literally. Whereas Plastic Beach delivered a five-star guestlist that ultimately opened the way for multiple interpretations and points of view in the band's already plural vision, Humanz feels like a huge, messy pile of sounds and ideas that often unravels itself like the constant flipping through TV channels immediately after a show goes on a commercial break. If the Blur frontman had already made clear that there should to be no boundaries to what Gorillaz should be looked upon by listeners and appreciators worldwide, Humanz goes straight to town with any possible remnants of such concept. It is an album that, ultimately, feels like it belongs to every one of these artists, and to none of them at the same time, Albarn included.

Announced shortly before Trump's official arrival to the USA government, it is said that the project's leading man had asked all of these countless artists to let out their feelings toward what was to come in the human world as we know it, after the new american president's throne claim. If that is true or not, it is not clear, but, as one listens to this alleged 'space party opus', the feeling of prophetized madness becomes clearer by the minute. Not that the album sounds poignantly cryptic or anything like that - remember, this is still a Gorillaz album, nevertheless, shimmery and bumping qualities and all, but it is difficult not to feel the impending sense of disorder and unsettled agitation (songs like Ascension, Momentz, Charger, Hallelujah Money all benefit from the involved artists' colliding artistic visions and aesthetics).

Fun and trademark mindless-exploration aside, this release lacks the very foundations of the 'album' medium as a contender for new music: purpose. Yes, at times like these it gets easier to throw out of the window every damn piece of word one writes at personal hours of self commiseration, and even if there would be thousands of fans out there to wait eagerly for Albarn's sporadic writings, it just feels like there is no clear meaning to what is happening on Humanz, an album that overwhelms with its intense, colourful chaos, just for the sake of... overwhelming. Like Drake's More Life, this album feels like an all-over-the-place playlist of sorts, a crazy space ride through far-away galaxies and planets, only to scratch the surface of these countless realms without actually the time to enjoy and explore them, no matter how briefly. What good does it do any band to have Danny Brown, Grace Jones, Mavis Staples, Benjamin Clementine and plenty of others around if you can't even ask for autographs? The comparison may pale, but in the end, that seems exactly the kind of situation the listener is struck with in here.

Another immensely inconsistent and misguided project from Albarn, who never sounded less essential in a project of his own before. The sounds may be engaging at points and the oozy mess might still prove to be quite fun and worthwile in isolated moments, but the whole is undeniably compromised, once again.
EMR's Tags
4 Comments
Apr 22, 2017
Albern
Apr 23, 2017
Nigga calm down, this aint Pitchfork
Jul 12, 2017
A thorough examination of the art of recording as a Gorillaz... With my 1st impression being... Will I need to wear some Depends inside out to catch all the spillage as this rambling collage plays on and on, oozing... No, suppurating like the nose of Aqualung?
Apr 25, 2018
This is....accurate.
Now I don't even know how to review it because you already said it all.
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