Pick of the Week: Gorillaz ft. Beck, “The Valley of the Pagans”

Pick of the Week Gorillaz

Graphics by Kevin Shin, Photography by Jacob Cutler

By Megan Doherty, Staff Writer

British band Gorillaz abandoned the typical album format for an innovative approach to releasing music off their seventh record Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez. The album acts as a music-based web series with the group putting out one new song a month as episodes. Gorillaz released their eighth episode, “The Valley of The Pagans,” earlier this month. The future-funk tune features Beck along with a groovy bass line, bright synths, and a screaming electric guitar panning back and forth. The song feels like a carefree joyride. The album itself is a stacked adventure. There different collaborations on each track ranging from Elton John to rapper ScHoolboy Q. On “Strange Timez” featuring The Cure’s Robert Smith, with entirely random piano keys being smashed, a dash of bongos, and an organ synth, they propel the tune into an upbeat, experimental, strange territory. 

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett created the virtual band Gorillaz over twenty years ago. They developed their own fictional universe to show in music videos, interviews, and short cartoons that features four animated members. They’ve presented themselves live with a holographic band and a fully visible live band, they’ve always released music fairly traditionally. However, Albarn said the group no longer feels constrained to solely creating albums. They’re embracing their new option of releasing music as episodes and seasons.

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