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CD of The Week

Week of 7/02/18

    Gorillaz - The Now Now (Warner Bros.)

    Wait – didn't we just have a new Gorillaz album? It was only 14 months ago that Damon Albarn's cartoon band released Humanz. The record was overflowing with guest vocalists and hip-hop features, as Albarn gave little of the spotlight to himself. In the end, Humanz felt more like a cool, curated playlist than an actual Gorillaz album.
    The Now Now also arrives with the latest chapter in the cartoon group's mythology: bassist Murdoc is in jail and has been replaced by Ace, who is actually a bad guy from The Powerpuff Girls…seriously!

    The record kicks off with the breezy summertime jam "Humility," with a bouncy beat backing sad lyrics about how "I don't want this isolation." Is it about isolationist politics like Brexit or just loneliness? Most likely the answer is both.

    The pulsing "Tranz" is another highlight. While it feels like the closest to a rave-up dance track on the album, lyrically it's documenting the comedown at the end of the night ("When you get back on a Saturday night/And your head is caving in"). One of the best tracks on The Now Now is easily "Hollywood," featuring guest vocals from Snoop Dogg, who is one of the all-time great Gorillaz contributors, thanks to his intro to the world of the Plastic Beach.

    However, the second half of The Now Now floats by on a wave of languid synths and beats and Albarn's voice. Things perk up here and there, like with the retro keyboards of "Magic City" and the instrumental "Lake Zurich." But the album that The Now Now most closely resembles is 2010's The Fall, which Albarn wrote and recorded on tour that year via his iPad. Like The Now Now, it was made quickly and is low on memorable hooky tracks. It all adds up to a great soundtrack to relaxing in the sun but little truly sticks.

    Gorillaz return to Philadelphia as part of a short North American arena tour this fall, playing the Wells Fargo Center on October 11.

    **Donate $20 or more to Y-Not Radio to receive a copy of The Now Now on CD. Click here for details.
    Review by Joey O.

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