I can’t quite remember the first time I listened to a Gorillaz song, but it was probably 19-2000 sometime circa 2003. Everyone liked the song despite having no clue as to what the dude was singing about. It was a nice change from then-current pop music, too. I also recall a late night spent playing the Gorillaz “Geep” driving game. It was awesome because I could just drive around and endlessly listen to 19-2000.
Then, I was 13 and on a family trip to Israel; It was 2005. Demon Days had just come out and before the trip I loaded it and Gorillaz self titled on my lime green, 8gb, iPod Mini. For 3 weeks, as we traveled from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and then to Haifa and Eilat, I listened to those albums from front to back, again and again. I learned every word to Clint Eastwood. And, for the first time in my life, I started falling in love with music. Tomorrow Comes Today, El Mañana, and a few others gave me my first case of “The Feels.”
High School. A troubling time in anyone’s life. Demon Days live on DVD expanded my appreciation for Gorillaz. The live performance of Hong Kong made me race to the Internet. There I found more Gorillaz videos and songs I had never heard or seen before. Enough to hold me over until … in my last semester before graduation, Stylo was released. Plastic Beach came right in time to launch me from childhood into university and, ultimately, adulthood.
At this point, play counts were in the 1000s. Gorillaz was my go-to that I never got tired of. The Fall was a nice treat, but it wasn’t special like the three core albums. News of a hiatus made me grow fearful that there may never be another Gorillaz album. I grew closer and closer to the discography. Melancholy Hill quickly become a favorite, I rocked out to Every Planet We Reach is Dead on my walk to class, and I realized how perfectly Fire Coming out of a Monkey’s Head, Don’t Get Lost in Heaven, and Demon Days fit together. I even hosted two tributes to Gorillaz on my college radio station, 90.5 FM WUOG, before I graduated.
2015. The real world hit me like a shotgun blast to the chest. Still, I always had my Gorillaz ready to take me to a zen, calming place like the windmill or the sundeck on Plastic Beach. But in the back of my mind, I wanted more. I was ready for something new. Do Ya Thang was a nice surprise, but that was in 2012. By 2015, I was itching for even a scrap of new Gorillaz.
Then … FINALLY … Damon Albarn, the man behind Gorillaz, confirmed it! He patched up his dispute with Jamie Hewlett, the artist, and Gorillaz was back, baby. A new album set for 2016. Rumors started leaking out and I scarfed up every last one. News of the album mentioned appearances by De La Soul and even David Bowie. Imagine that, David Bowie singing again. That would be special.
September 20th, 2016. Gorillaz social media sprung to life with a timeline of Gorillaz “Phase 1” (Self Titled). The 21st was “Phase 2” (Demon Days). The 22nd was “Phase 3” (Plastic Beach). That meant only one thing … Friday … September 23rd … 23! A number important to Gorillaz history … “Phase 4” was about to begin. There was a castrophany of fan hype, excitement, and Damon Albarn’s Instagram account was hacked … Then …
Nothing. Something must have gone wrong after the hack …
Until, “Phase 4” started October 3rd with “The Book of Noodle” posted to social media. A new album is almost here. As is a new chapter of my life. Gorillaz is so much more than a band. Gorillaz is part of my life. I can’t wait to see what comes next.