Mateusz “Sketch” Gorski ’18, Entertainment/News Editor
“Clint Eastwood,” “Feel Good Inc.,” “Melancholy Hill.” Maybe these names do not ring a bell, but I am positive that you have at least heard these songs somewhere before. Gorillaz is an English band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, even though they are not the actual band members. The real members are actually fictional cartoon characters, created by Albarn and Hewlett, and drawn and animated by Hewlett.
The frontman is 2D, the lead vocalist and pianist. He is tall and lanky, has completely black eyeballs, and his singing voice is done by Albarn. 2D is the kind, dumb punching bag of the group who does his best to support his other band members, but is usually a target of Murdoc’s reckless antics. Murdoc Niccals is the bassist of the band, a rude and abusive satanist with a taste for heavy bass and kidnapping his own band members. He is also responsible for 2D’s black eyes and initially gathering (kidnapping) the band members, and starting the band in the first place.
You cannot make music without a beat; that’s where drummer Russel Hobbs comes in. Kidnapped by Murdoc for his drumming skills and masterful knowledge of rhythm, Russel reluctantly joined the band to provide his sound. He is also possessed by the ghost of his dead rapper friend, Del, who appeared in two of Gorillaz’s songs and is voiced by rapper Del the Funky Homosapien. Finally, the band needed a guitarist. Murdoc put out an ad in the paper, in hopes of recruiting someone who could complete their squad. A few days later, a FedEx crate appeared on the doorstep of their home, Kong Studios, and in it was a 10-year-old Japanese guitarist, who called herself “Noodle.” With the last member joined, Gorillaz was formed and set off to be one of the most famous bands in the world, even though they are just cartoon characters.
Gorillaz climbed to the top because of two things. First off, their music. They brought a new sound to the table. Weird, chill, funky, and fun, all wrapped up in a stylish package. Their music simply is not comparable to other artists, and every song is unique and odd in all the best ways. The second was their presentation. The brilliantly drawn characters are treated like real celebrities, mainly because when someone thinks of Gorillaz, they immediately associate it with Jamie Hewlett’s unique cartoons. There is even a whole intricate storyline following the origin of the band and its members, to even a continuous story spanning across each album as if they were chapters.
Each music video is animated, and because of that, it allows the creators to be completely imaginative and weird, while also remaining cool and professional. I would recommend watching some of their music videos, such as “Clint Eastwood,” their first hit single, “19-2000,” “Feel Good Inc.,” “Dirty Harry,” “DARE,” “Melancholy Hill,” “Do Ya Thing,” and from their most recent album, “Saturnz Barz.” Gorillaz has an acquired sound, it’s different and could take some time to get used to, and it may not resonate with everyone. However, there is no denying the success that this fictional band has achieved throughout the years, and that they will be living on for many years to come.
“I ain’t happy, I’m feeling glad,
I got sunshine in a bag,
I’m useless but not for long,
The future is coming on.”
- “Clint Eastwood,” 2001\
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia