Gorillaz has always been known for its unconventional style and habitual experimentation when it comes to music.
The virtual band, created by singer Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, has been around for over two decades, with their newest project debuting Jan. 30.
The new initiative known as “Song Machine,” is a series of music videos and tracks that Gorillaz plans to release on a monthly basis, featuring collaborations with unannounced musical artists.
Kicking off the project, Gorillaz released the first track, “Momentary Bliss,” featuring rapper Slowthai and British punk duo Slaves.
The song begins with a soft guitar riff and drum beat accompanied by a calming chorus from Slaves’ singer Isaac Holman. From the start, the song feels very much like one that Gorillaz could have previously released.
Regrettably, the track immediately begins to drag itself down as the beat picks up and Slowthai begins “rapping” over the track, although his vocals more closely resemble him simply yelling into the microphone.
From this point, as Slowthai continues his near incomprehensible verse, the guitar riff picks up in tempo, now playing quick staccato notes as opposed to the drawn out chords previously heard.
As the verse wraps up we have to endure more of Slowthai’s vocals as he “sings” the refrain before we are relieved on the bridge and second verse by 2-D (Damon Albarn).
Once these two sections kick in, the song once again begins to somewhat resemble a Gorillaz track, albeit one of their rare upbeat ones.
There isn’t really a lot of criticism to be thrown Albarn’s way as his singing is no different from what has been presented in the past.
It is a shame that the track continues one of Gorillaz’s ongoing tropes of reserving Albarn for choral or singular verse vocals, transitioning from the verse back to Slowthai’s grating refrain.
The track wraps up by returning to the soft riffs and Isaac Holman vocals from the beginning, neatly book-ending an otherwise messy track.
The lyrical content isn’t anything that stands out either.
The song follows the cliché of recognizing that you have to forge your own path in life and that your destiny is not decided, but people have relied on the titular momentary bliss to get them by in life rather than seeking long term satisfaction.
The song also holds a very Anglocentric tone as well.
This tone not only comes from Slowthai’s heavily accented enunciation, but from the inclusion of lines such as “Lovely Rita, meter maid” from The Beatle’s track “Lovely Rita” and pointless references to the snack food Turkey Twizzlers.
The composition of the song itself varies a bit from past Gorillaz songs, including their singles which have often been the stand-out, upbeat songs.
The guitar work brought to the track by Slaves’ guitarist Laurence Vincent quickly becomes the most enjoyable part, but unfortunately cannot overpower the sheer arrogance and command that Slowtai holds over the track.
Despite the minor qualities that spark potential, this “Scott Pilgrim” soundtrack reject should have been listed as a Slowthai track featuring Gorillaz and Slaves, meaning that the track could have simply flown under my radar and not have warranted a listen.