Genre: Electronic, Hip-Hop, Alternative Rap
Length: 49:19, 1:08:55 (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Parlophone, Warner Bros. Records
Media Types: Digital, Streaming, CD, Vinyl
Release Date: April 28th, 2017
This is a hard listen. This is arguably the most esoteric album from Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewett’s cartoon band project. Nothing on here is going to appeal to those who were fans of songs like “Feel Good Inc”, “DARE” or even “Clint Eastwood”, as nothing here is structured as simply as those songs. That being said, this is mostly a Gorillaz album through and through. The constant playing with different styles of music and non-traditional music structures are here and accounted for. Even if they aren’t as experimental as before, songs like “Saturnz Barz”, “Charger”, and “She’s My Collar” are solid tracks that play with conventional music wisdom. Arguably the best song on the album is the obvious single “Andromeda” which has conspicuously been made only a promo release.
However, one genre typically in the Gorillaz repetoire is completely absent: rock. It’s a sign of the times, to be sure, but it’s woefully missing on this album. Another interesting choice is how much Albarn isn’t on this album. His vocals, which typically represents that of fictional singer 2-D, is by and large pushed into the background in favor of guests, of which there is one on every single track of this album. Yes, even the one that says there isn’t a guest. Only five songs have 2-D as the main vocalist.
The album seems to have an overarching theme about the world and various attitudes, viewpoints, and life styles, which explains why the whole album isn’t as upbeat as previous releases. The album has more of a melancholy feel to it, with 2-D’s reserved vocals and less dance-inspired tracks, though it does end on a hopeful note. The Deluxe Edition presents a unique problem, as most of those tracks are stronger than some that are on the album proper, but it also makes the album feel too long. Overall, I don’t think I’ll personally be coming back to Humanz for many repeat listens. However, if you dig deep into the music and lyrics, you’ll definitely find something to enjoy.