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The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

Album Review: Demon Days

Photo Credits: EMI

We live in a time where most music seems manufactured and mass produced. In 1998, Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn took notice of this trend and decided to play into the humor of it all by creating a completely virtual band drawn by Hewlett and musically produced by Albarn.

The band had four distinct “musicians” in it, Murdoc Niccals on bass, Stuart “2-D” Pot on vocals/keyboard, Russel Hobbs on drums, and Noodle (no last name) on guitar. In the year 2001, the virtual band released their first studio album that was self-titled, that sold over 7 million copies worldwide as of 2024. 

When the Gorillaz movie failed, Albarn started thinking about using its concepts to make a brand new album. An endless night, facing humanity’s many demons and destructions. Unlike self-titled, Demon Days has many collaborators, including MF Doom, De La Soul, and Shawn Ryder. The album would go on to be crowned Gorillaz’ most successful album. Here are some song recommendations from the album.

Song 2: Last Living Souls

This song is mainly filled with the feeling of emptiness with Murdoc’s bass taking most of your attention. Halfway through, the tone of the song switches to a more orchestral vibe with the usage of pianos and strings. The song ends with the two feelings coming together to create a sort of lofi feel. The song gets a 4 out of 5 for being such a calming listen.

Song 3: KWG

Similar to the previous song, KWG has a more mellow approach and a more traditional sound. However, it tells a message that not many songs do anymore. Due to its more bland nature compared to souls, KWG gets a 3 out of 5.

Song 5: Dirty Harry (ft. Bootie Brown) 

A funky jam plays as the 5th track in the album. The “demon” represented in this song is war and conflict. The song has a heavy electronic influence with some strings added in the mix. Most of the song has no vocals, with the exception of the chorus which is sung by many children and at the end ties itself with the beginning of the next track, Feel Good Inc. However, when the song is about ⅔ over, Brown Steps in to give a rap that I personally think is well done. This song gets a solid 4 out of 5.

Song 6: Feel Good Inc. (ft. De La Soul)

If you knew anything about this album, it’s probably this song. Feel Good Inc. is a song about “a company that spreads fake happiness to the world” according to Murdoc in his director’s commentary of the music video. The song itself is very well written and produced, allowing 2-D his singing role back with De la soul coming in halfway to complete the song. The song deserves an easy 5 out of 5 for being the standout track and just overall appealing.

Song 7: El Mañana (ft. Roots Manuva)

Melancholic and somber can properly describe this one. The music video portrays a sense of dread as one of the main characters, Noodle, seems to die. However, in their next studio album, Plastic Beach, Noodle is revealed to be alive and well. The song itself gets a 5 out of 5 for being something that just makes me feel something as many times as I hear it.

Song 8: Every Planet We Reach Is Dead

Opposed to Intro and the second to last track, Don’t Get Lost In Heaven, this is Demon Days’ longest song clocking in at almost 5 minutes. However, the song makes up for this by being a good listen. The song has a very cinematic-esque sound similar to “Skyfall” by Adele with the added funk of a Gorillaz track. Like most of this album’s songs, Planet gets a 4 out of 5 ranking.

Song 9: November Has Come (ft. MF DOOM)

Before doing research on this song, I thought the MF in MF DOOM’s name stood for something… less than school appropriate. Turns out it stands for metal face, weird. Anyway, this track has the classic MF Doom sound, with that classic hip-hop feel, alongside 2-D’s vocals giving it a Gorillaz edge. Personally, I like Doom’s music so this gets a solid 4 out of 5.

Song 12: Dare (ft. Shawn Ryder)

One of the few singles released from this album, alongside Feel Good Inc., KWG/El Mañana, and Dirty Harry. Dare has one of the more stand-out sounds with its 1970’s disco inspired mixing. Ryder and 2-D show near equal singing time, sometimes singing harmonies together with Noodle. If you listen to any of this album, I would suggest this song and Feel Good Inc. due to their unique sounds compared to the rest of the album. Dare gets a 5 out of 5.

Even though this album is Gorillaz’ magnum opus, it might just be a tad overrated. I give the album a final rating of 4 out of 5, I suggest listening to the entirety of the discography or at least a few from each album to get a full opinion on the band and not just start with the popular one.

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