The Gorillaz - The Now Now
The Now Now
The Gorillaz, and Damon Albarn as a whole has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. I know some of the music is good, interesting and rich enough to enjoy but none of it ever really clicked for me. The Gorillaz would occasionally drop a stunner of a track, but more often than not it was just a bunch of fluff. Their last album Humanz was a feature heavy exploration of modern alternative music, but the real gems from that record came through it's remixes. You'll only find Snoop Dogg and Jamie Principle as features on "Hollywood" a song that is really quite awful. They are going for this sun soaked indulgent vibe but the 80s inspired electronics give it this really odd sound. Albarn takes his characters through long stretches of isolation and loneliness on this record, making them somehow feel even more one dimensional. The album just sort of crawls along with songs like "Kansas" being a total bore from beginning to end. "Idaho" is another dreamy snooze which never engages or becomes any bigger. Albarn has confirmed that much of this interview was written while on tour for Humanz and you can tell by how sparse and isolated it is. It feels like songs written for extended bus rides, not that you want to listen to them, but they sound how that experience feels. "Lake Zurich" despite it's travelling quality at least has a bit of exuberance in it.
There are times like on "Magic City" where Albarn enters psychedelic jam band territory that are really painful to get through. The whole idea of the Gorillaz is predicated on the fact that the music has to be razor sharp or people aren't going to buy in. Folks are already skeptical of a made up band of cartoon characters so if the music doesn't absolutely punch you are left with a corny gimmick. The more time goes on the less the Gorillaz really feel all that meaningful. You are left wondering how Albarn plays into the whole thing, and what part of him we end up hearing. The Now Now ends up sounding like it's lost it's way and never really finds it. There is a lot of reaching going on but so often it feels like grasping at something that it never manages to reach. It leaves you with this unfulfilled sensation and a the album closes it is hard to feel like you've gone anywhere at all. This record never clicks in to any kind of excitement or fun, instead it just hovers around some kind of isolated melancholy. Not for me.
4.0 out of 10