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The Story Behind Demon Days: How Gorillaz Created a Genre-Busting, Contemporary Pop Milestone

The references in Demon Days run the gamut: De La Soul, Run-DMC, Toto, Pete Townshend, Soulwax, Arthur Russell, and as already mentioned, the Gorillaz. But it is the invocation of Marvin Gaye's album What's Going On that most explicitly comments on the state of cultural upheaval and corporate power. Within the sprawling European-influenced, psychedelic-drenched music for which the Gorillaz are known, the session for the song So Lonely makes a nice encapsulation of the entire album. Album opener DARE and title-track Demon Days set the tone nicely. The latter rambles and reflects, and is followed by a wonderfully bouncy and rather melancholy Slowdown , which injects this usually stolid British band with some of the energy of Nirvana. Feel Good Inc. functions as a bridge to the rest of the record and eventually meanders into a slow faux country coda titled Mt. St. Helens. The album itself attempts to blend the various Gorillaz stylistic elements and still sound cohesive; it's an impressive feat.

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Gorillaz' reputation as a vehicle for Albarn's misanthropic personae has resulted in a lot of pleasant prognosis. Albarn's a publicist's dream and a smooth talker, his words creating a sense of enthusiasm, relevancy, and rock solid confidence even if you haven't heard a Gorillaz song before. And yeah, I'm one of those suckers.

Since Demon Days is a black-bordered gatefold LP, the album sleeve includes a piece of paper with the record's track listing and a lyrics booklet--sort of an inside look at Albarn's writing process. If I had to describe the Gorillaz as a song, I'd call it the clever love song. The interplay between the Bono-esque vocal melody and the lyrics is nothing short of head-turning, and the lyrics themselves are well written. Now there's nothing incredibly profound about the lyrics, but Albarn is definitely honing his craft.


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