Sunday, November 01, 2020

Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez album review

Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, is certainly another audio-visual triumph for the band of collaborative geniuses. Often victim to feeling disjointed, this album demonstrates mastermind Albarn’s skills in harmonising punk, pop and melodic misery - sitting together in one cohesive body of work. The loveable cartoon Gorillaz are accompanied by some huge names, including: Slowthai, Peter Hook, Elton John, Skepta and St Vincent. An odd mix !

The album is opened by Strange Timez with the Cure’s Robert Smith; an odd ball pop mix reflecting on our world shifting on its axis - so strange that the whole song was written over email.

Valley of the Pagans (featuring Beck) is a charged disco anthem. Albarn mocks victims of social media, ‘in the valley where you wake up every beautiful day in a world you create where your image is golden’.

Aries collab with both Georgia and New Order’s bassist - Peter Hook; is deliciously dysphoric, and by far my favourite song of the project. The lyric: ‘I feel so isolated’, depicts each of our current social climates during the on-going pandemic. However, Albarn calls for a higher meaning - thus building a connection with the listener; craving mitigation of his loneliness. The lyrics juxtapose with the head-bopping beat, giving it a rhythmic feel.

Momentary Bliss is the most talked about collaboration; featuring UK rapper: Slowthai and; the punk duo: Slaves. The funky tune is used to convey twisted anti-capitalist messages, ultimately picking apart our social constructs. Each of the references; ‘golden arches’ and ‘parting the sea’, display the strewn value of materialism over utilitarianism.

The project was then drawn to a close with How Far, a tune featuring Skepta and Tony Allen. It was released in tribute to the late afrobeat trailblazer, as Allen and Albarn played in the supergroup: the Good, the Bad and the Queen.

Another masterpiece to add to Gorillaz’ conquests….

- Mollie German


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