I assume that many people who might read this blog are probably, like me, fans of Gorillaz, Damon Albarn’s ‘solo’ musical project plus cartoon drawing by Jamie Hewitt. That’s a bold statement to make when music is so subjective and really anyone could stumble across this post. I may be totally wrong. If you aren’t a fan, I apologise. But the reason I make that assumption is that some online forums aside where you do occasionally run into people who don’t like them, they are one of the most well-regarded bands of the 00s and I see a lot more praise for them than I do most bands. They cross genre boundaries, potentially appealing to fans of both rock and hip-hop, as well as dance in some circumstances. Even if you don’t like some Gorillaz songs I’d find it hard to believe you could dislike all Gorillaz songs.
Additionally, the people who like music from the 00s are going to be twentysomethings, who are more likely to be delving this deep into the internet. But there’s also the fact that I love anime and Gorillaz are a band based around animation. I just generally love animation and before I really got into anime, I got obsessed with the videos of Gorillaz and ended up afterwards falling in love with their eclectic and interesting music and sounds.
Now I assume I’m not some special snowflake with this experience and based on the popularity of the posts their returns generated, I know I’m not. There’s a huge potential Gorillaz fanbase out there, just waiting for more music. Plastic Beach has had 7 years to sit and gain fans and that’s their newest (if one doesn’t count The Fall which had very little presence), I anecdotally heard it and them a lot over the years in between. I think it’s quite likely that they could grab another hit. You remember how Daft Punk came out of obscurity with Get Lucky? I think, given how cool Gorillaz’ music is deemed to be, the variety in styles, a similar return for them is possible and this hyped massive release of Hallelujah Money, their first in five years, could quite possibly be building awareness for something huge later this year. Of course a fan would say that but I’d say there’s a good chance of a major noticeable return that wouldn’t fizzle out in the same way The Stone Roses’ hyped return fizzled out last year. The Stone Roses, as talented as they are, could be your dad’s band. Some people like the same music as their dad but it doesn’t make for modern hits. Gorillaz are no one’s dad’s band. Yet they’re old enough for some of the people who still make music hits by listening to a lot of modern music to be super nostalgic about them. I think the breeding ground is very ripe for them to get a hit and grab a load of new fans with their genre bending and boundary pushing.
Now, you’ll notice I’ve spent most of this post so far without mentioning much about Hallelujah Money itself. I don’t do music posts all that often on here so you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s my format here but it’s not, it’s because this generation-defining Gorillaz rejuvenator is not that song. It is timely, it contains references to things very politically relevant, it’s a new style, it shows that Gorillaz is still innovating, but it’s niche, weighted as it is with slow gospel sounds, as great as the choir and both Benjamin and Damon’s voice is. I don’t think I’ll be considering it my new favourite Gorillaz song, it can go filed next to Cloud Of Unknowing (the closest analogue to a previously existing Gorillaz song) as a song I like but don’t often listen to, but it’s done its job. They are back. They’re not dormant any more. And I think, I’d like to think, but as far as I’m concerned the latent signs are there, that they mean business.
(now watch nothing come from them until 2018 when they finally after much waiting and gnashing of teeth release a limp lead single accompanying an average album and fade into music history – that’s the other possibility and it’s one I’m really hoping doesn’t happen)