To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement considering how long I’ve been waiting for this album and let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait. After their long hiatus, most kind of wished and hoped that Gorillaz would come back in a huge way; one that would have fans and non-fans going wild with excitement. This album is a culmination of that seven year wait with what can be argued as some of the best collaborations ever done in music. With artists ranging from De La Soul to Benjamin Clementine, Humanz is a journey into a psychedelic world of wonder.
Now, I could run through all 26 songs individually and talk about how they all have a stellar sound, but instead of that, I’ll simply go through the ones I feel are the strongest. Starting with “Ascension (feat. Vince Staples)”. Being one of the songs we were teased with a month prior to the release of the album, it gave us a good idea of the direction in which the album might be taking. It has such a nice flow to it with Vince Staples’s crisp but rough voice going with the vocal stylings of Gorillaz. Along with that, the backtrack is has a steady beat that is easy to follow. Those things, combined and a hook line of “The Sky is Falling Baby, Drop That Ass Fore’ It Crash” makes this song an instant banger.
Next on the album immediately following “Ascension” is “Stobelite (feat. Peven Everett)”. Now, this song is a complete 180 from the previous as it goes for a more soulful soft funk style. Don’t get me wrong though, it works just as well as the fast paced rap of “Ascension” with its own slower but solid rhythm. It essentially is something you can easily jam along to; at least that is what I found myself doing. Yet, as soon as I get into a groove the mood and sound changes with “Saturnz Barz (feat. Popcaan)”.
Another song that teased a month prior, this one became an immediate love for many and listening to it I have to agree. Like I said, it’s another one-eighty as we are suddenly dealing with hip-hop, dancehall, trip hop beats. With the dancehall vocals of Jamaican artist Popcaan, this song is possibly the best out of all the songs that I’m recommending. It has this sort of softness and trance like feel to it even though it does give off a sort of hard dancehall vibe. It’s simply a great song, that’s all I can say.
Speaking of dancehall/nightclub music, “Andromeda (feat. D.R.A.M.)” is in itself a good alternative dance song. Using elements of a song you would here in something like nineties discoteche, this song is very reminiscent of any Daft Punk song in terms of sound and use of synth. What makes this song so great though, is just the overall melody and vocals combined. It really gives that vibe that you’re in a club and are just jamming out to this on a dancefloor. It’s the kind of chill sound you need after all that bass heavy grooves you get before hand.
Next, we go to “Let Me Out (feat. Mavis Staples & Pusha T)”. This is another song that was teased at us and it’s just as good as the other rap pieces on the album, if not better. It contains a pretty basic rhythm, but what makes it great is how it uses that basic rhythm and builds on top of it with the added melodies, lyrics, and vocals. If anything I do wish it was higher on the setlist of songs; maybe after “Andromeda”.
Finally, we have “Out of Body (feat. Kilo Kish, Zebra Katz & Imani Vonsha)”. Out of all the songs on this album, this one I feel is the most out there. It has such a different sound and rhythm compared to others with this sort of electro house feel. Don’t be misconstrued, I totally love the song, it’s just different. The moment it begins and all the way to the ending you most likely will find yourself bouncing from the constant rhythm and the rap makes it even better in my opinion.
Now I’m aware this review may sound a bit biased because of my everlasting love of Gorillaz, but I would recommend listening to the album first hand and you’ll see that it actually is as good as I say it is. Granted, some songs are weaker than others, but even the weak songs are solid work.
The album as a whole seems very beat heavy and the sound and genre is constantly changing, but you can see how much collaboration Gorillaz ended up doing with the artists. It shows through in each song and really showcases the style well. So if you happen to be new to the band or a long time fan, you’ll definitely enjoy Humanz and after you’re done with that, go back to their older works and give them a listen for nostalgia.