Gorillaz sixth studio album couldn’t have been released at a better time. Full of soulful, mellow vibes and funky, bass-driven tracks, The Now Now is the perfect chilled album to accompany those hot summer days ahead. While the album is unlikely to turn heads and produce some of the chart hits that catapulted the band to super stardom back in the day, The Now Now is a much more intimate collection of tracks, providing an emotionally charged commentary on the world we live in.
The album has a pretty consistent vibe throughout, with a mixture of funky and chilled beats, all driven through the distinct lyrics you’d expect from lead vocalist Damon Albarn. Trying to distinguish this sound into a single genre is incredibly difficult and partly what makes this band so endearing. We begin The Now Now with a few simple tracks, Humility and Tranz, that showcase the chilled vibe of the album before sliding into a darker toned, hip-hop inspired commentary on Hollywood aptly named Hollywood. Featuring Snoop Dogg, this cynical look at Los Angeles is a really interesting song with a synth-driven bass line very reminisce of the sort of track you’d hear in something like Mr. Robot or The Social Network.
Following on from this, The Now Now takes a pretty similar approach to most of its songs, with tracks like Idaho, Kansas and Lake Zurich all providing the perfect accompanying soundtrack for those lazy, summer afternoons out in the sun. Ultimately, this is where the album thrives but because of this tonal focus, it’s unlikely to be an album that inspires any tracks to be listed on a “Best Of” list for the group. That’s not to say the album is poor, quite the opposite, there’s enough here to satisfy fans of Gorillaz and those looking for an alternative, chilled album with meaningful lyrics will certainly find it here but the album lacks the heavy hitting tracks needed to solidfy itself as one of their best albums.
Ultimately it’s the lyrical content that’s likely to be the thing you take away from The Now Now and there’s a good blend of social commentary with personal revelations and plenty of cynical jabs at the world we live in today. The album is certainly competently made too and there’s a great mix of live instruments and funky, digitalised synth sounds to provide some much needed variety in an album that’s tonally consistent throughout. The Now Now is a far more meaningful and emotionally charged album than it first appears to be and is the perfect accompanying album for those long, hot summer days ahead.