Gorillaz have been the mystery of the music world for quite some time now. Most people upon first look become confused as they are considered a “virtual band,” with the band members not showing their faces and instead representing themselves in cartoon character monkey animations. The actual band members are known, yet even when they perform it is all mainly an animated show. Gorillaz began not showing their faces as a purely creative aspect.
Gorillaz is led by English musician Damon Albarn, who is publicly known as the vocalist for the band Blur. He is the only member to have consistently been with the band throughout its creation in 1998. They quickly made a mark on the music scene with their sophomore album “Demon Days.” In the public’s eyes, this is without a doubt their best album. Its release in 2005 brought light to the unique band, especially due to its breakout song “Feel Good Inc.” that took home a Grammy win for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals and another nomination for Record of the Year.
“Cracker Island” is the eight-studio album from the virtual band Gorillaz. Like most Gorillaz albums, you cannot place one label on the songs it contains. This album features a variety of genres, with each song containing various shifts in melody and rhythm. “Skinny Ape” is a song featured on this album that exemplifies just this. Starting off a slow and melodic jam and transforming into an exciting dancing anthem.
“Cracker Island” is named after the first song on the album, where the lyrics call out what listeners assume is the media and the music industry for being a false paradise. The song also contains metaphors to how fans treat them with a “cult” following. A “cult” following in music is where a group of fans are very dedicated to the band and its type of music. Overall, this song is an intro to the albums theme, where 2-D, a character of the group, sells his soul to be on the island. The song ends with him wondering when his fortune will pay off, or if it ever will. It leaves listeners wondering where the rest of the albums journey will take him.
The album includes several star-studded features. These include, Thundercat in “Cracker Island,” Stevie Nicks in “Oil,” Bad Bunny in “Tormenta,” and Tame Impala in “New Gold.” Stevie Nicks has only released a few new singles over many of the past years, so it is great to hear the two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer again. Tame Impala is a heavy fan-favorite, especially in the genre of Indie and Alternative music, and has done an incredible job of attracting non-Gorillaz fans to this new album.
This 15-song deluxe album pleases many music tastes, especially for those who are into the Alternative or Indie genre of music. It is a pleasant blend of a new style and the return to their old format. A mix of both that produces an overall solid album that has satisfied many listeners and reviewers. They have received some backlash for their return to an older sound, yet I think it still really works. Gorillaz has been a must listen for decades now, and they continue to prove that they can handle limelight.