The Now Now by Gorillaz
It’s not often that I listen to an album and think “I want this exact thing again.” Some of my favorite albums still deal with issues, issues I’ll always look over, but I feel that The Now Now by British (ew) group Gorillaz is tit for tat a near-perfect album. I will say this beforehand though, it’s not my favorite Gorillaz album. But I believe it’s the best formatted and best quality-wise. Throughout the entire album, you will experience a roller-coaster of emotions like no other. Bouncing from immediate, caring joy to unloving, lost grief. A roller-coaster that within forty minutes brought me from pure smiles to a curled-up ball of tears and sorrow. And that’s perfect.
When it comes to Gorillaz, most of their albums have a theme. With Demon Days, it’s overall a theme of evil ideas/aspects of life. Vices, pollution, nuclear war, school shootings, etc. With Humanz, it was a party at the end of the world, with each song depicting a different reaction and perspective. But with The Now Now it’s hard to pin down a single theme. I feel context matters in this case, as after Humanz, Gorillaz project showrunners Damon Albarn and Jaime Hewlett had gone through a falling out. And this album is seemingly their make-up project. It symbolizes and embodies so many feelings that could be felt during their falling out. The original anger, the loss of respect, the loneliness, the reconnection, everything is laid out in this album. And it’s like reading a storybook, watching as an arc comes to fruition and seeing as it climaxes. All through the medium of nearly every genre imaginable.
It’s rare for a newer Gorillaz song or album to not have a feature. Humanz and Song Machine Vol. 1 we’re packed to the brim with big-name features. It’s a part of what makes Gorillaz so popular, you can expect almost any artist you like to appear on one of their albums. For example, in their new album, Cracker Island, you can find artists such as Stevie Nicks and Bad Bunny. This applies to most of their other albums, except for one. Well, two, but The Fall will be its own review. The Now Now only has one song with features. Hollywood featuring Snoop Dogg and Jaimie Principle is a song about how awful and corrupt Hollywood can be. A heavy, deep song with Principle’s backup vocals bringing you back in every time you lose yourself in the beat. Snoop Dogg’s verse is the typical Snoop Gorillaz verse, still great, but expectedly so. But besides them, the only voice you will hear on this album is Damon Albarn’s. And after Tranz, Albarn maintains a very solemn and quiet tone for most of the album. The best example of this is Fire Flies.
Fire Flies is a song that upon first listen, brought me to unstoppable, unimaginable tears. Something about being so out of touch with what’s around you, that you ignore people who care about you and try to help as you slowly sink deeper and deeper into a delusion-filled life resonates on an extremely personal level. Despite the personal attachment, this song is excellent with a capital E. I feel Albarn’s tone throughout this album finds its best spot on this track. He sounds so exasperated, so tired, matching the song overall. It’s a very calm track, reaching it’s loudest as Albarn speaks at a barely louder tone than seconds before. It’s a cry in the dark, almost as if it’s Albarn’s last song. His last words before he’s dragged away. An apology, a plea, a hope, something he hopes someone will hear. This in my opinion is the peak of the album, not a high peak when compared to the other songs, but a peak nonetheless.
The album has plenty of amazing tracks, as previously mentioned, but the final song on the album, Souk Eye, is the best ending that could’ve come from this album. A love song about loving something that’s awful for you, that you can’t maintain a relationship with. “I will always think about you, that’s why I’m calling you back, ‘cause I got to run soon.” The acknowledgment that you can’t stay in this relationship, because it will only hurt you in the end. It’s usually the end of the song that I find the best. Albarn keeps the same volume, only more sad in tone, as the instrumentals pick up more and more. Only for all of to slowly pitter out into a simple melody playing, fading away as the album finishes.
I could talk about this album for hours on end, I tried to fit the highlights in as best I could. It seems that Gorillaz fans and most people, in general, tend to skip out on The Now Now for one reason or another. But it may be one of the best, if not the best Gorillaz album out there. It is emotion depicted in song. It’s hate, love, loss, every word with every connotation that you can think of. It’s perfect.