Well, I think the one thing Damon Albarn definitely achieved with the album is his goal. The idea of a “party at the end of the world.” He captured the theme of the end of the world party, and lead through a kind of narrative. Maybe you agree with what he was going for with that, or not, but he definitely got that. The symbolism/parody/satire is heavy on this one. Overall, I like the album. It took me a few listens, but it really grew on me. There are some awesome songs on here and some lackluster ones, and some features were both overused and underused. However, at 20 tracks, I was hoping for something more cohesive, like an epic based in Neo Tokyo. Although, having said that, Each of the different collaborators bring their own flavour to the songs, the themes are strong, and it flows together excellently.
I think this album is not only showing us an end of the world party, it is taking us through it. This isn’t concrete, but hear me out. It starts off with people’s many different initial reactions to the end of the world, being all over the place but mostly upbeat. The elevator interlude takes us in the quiet, downtempo existential moment (Andromeda is literally about death). Then we get to the penthouse where it becomes a sex-filled debauched spectacle. But after that all dies down, we deal with the “elephant” in the room (Hallelujah Money). And “We Got The Power” is us coming to the conclusion that the end isn’t actually the end, and we have the power to make changes.
It’s really weird, but anyone who’s listened to any Gorillaz song aside from the big singles should expect that. What sets it apart from other Gorillaz stuff is how chaotic it is. Many other Gorillaz songs are pretty laid back, and when they aren’t, there’s typically a buildup into the chaos. Not this time around. With few exceptions, the songs on Humanz are a dense, in-your-face onslaught of electronic, apocalyptic weirdness. There’s so many different vocalists, and you never know who’s going to take the mic next. There is less 2D/Albarn than I hoped for though, which makes it feel like he’s a guest feature on his own album.
Ultimately, the record felt more like a party playlist curated by Albarn, but a party playlist curated by Damon Albarn sounds pretty cool to me.