after a few singles and music videos to kick off what would be known as Phase 2: Slowboat to Hades, the Gorillaz next project dropped in 2005 – Demon Days

the Intro’s really good as a tone setter. Last Living Souls is haunting in places, nervous and frantic in others. successfully delivers on the anxiety promised by the title, haha. i really like how the instrumentation develops, from that initial loop to the string laden bridge back down to the drum machine loop winding down. Kids With Guns lays down a nice groove and just vibes. i like how subtly they use the guest vocalist, Neneh Cherry, here. i have a minor gripe with sequencing here but i’ll explain down below. O Green World is doing some interesting stuff with it’s sounds, and it ends up feeling like a cloud that moves in over the more-stripped down space that Kids With Guns constructed. i like Dirty Harry – its got a fun structure to it, but im not huge on the guest feature from Bootie Brown, ngl. there is a fun moment in the music video where one of the kids is imitating his dancing and that’s really funny. Feel Good Inc is their big hit and honestly its fucking deserved. the bass slaps, the melody is catchy and smooth, and the verses from De La Soul are v good. the music video for this one’s really good too – hinting at the visual world of the band, without being too narrative. plus, was neat that it existed at a time of changing digital landscapes and it was one of the first tracks to really benefit from downloads contributing to the tracking of a single. real neat. El Mañana is a really chill groove, and a nice follow up to Feel Good. i like how spacey it feels. neat that the music video follows up where the FGI music video stops off, and then sets up the end of the phase’s Lore. Every Planet We Reach Is Dead is funky, i dig it, plus the piano solo from Ike Turner is real good. November Has Come has another future discog target MF DOOM, and damn i really like his flow, haha. this one grew on me. All Alone’s rap verse from Roots Manuva is also really good, but i feel a little more middling on the track surrounding it. Interesting to have something so repetitive as White Light right after All Alone, but i do gotta admit the track is catchy as hell. DARE brings in Shaun Ryder for vocal duty with Noodle, and i def went into this record already knowing and loving this song. one of the more electronic dance influenced tracks on the record, this one’s catchy and jammy and extremely danceable. huge fan. a fun note about the music video on this one: in the Lore, Noodle wrote this whole record and brought the rest of the band back after time apart to record their parts, and there’s a joke that none of the rest of them knew she was filming this, which adds another layer to Russell and 2-D’s confusion at all the noise coming from her room as she dances and grooves around. fun video. Fire Coming Out of a Monkey’s Head is a neat track, a nice little encapsulation of some of the environmental angles of the record. its interesting that its coming at it from a spiritual angle, though O Green World and Every Planet We Reach Is Dead does the same, just less directly. i really like this track – not one i’d want in a mix but i like it a lot and i especially like where it sits here on the record. Don’t Get Lost In Heaven and Demon Days together serve as a really nice outro to the record, a cooldown from the combo of DARE and Monkey’s Head. DGLiH itself is a nice kinda epilogue for Monkey’s Head – this one finds its way into my brain quite often, haha. love the use of the choir here too – thematically its a bit of a maturation of the children’s singers used back in Dirty Harry, which is fun. a lot of those elements blend right into Demon Days, which expands its scope and plays out the record with and air of hope. some notes from the bands described this song as a kind of musical sunrise after a long night  which i really liked.

faves – Last Living Souls, Kids With Guns, Feel Good Inc., Every Planet We Reach Is Dead, November Has Come, DARE
dislikes –

to explain my sequencing gripe: despite the fact that i like both tracks, having Last Living Souls AND Kids With Guns open the album ends up feeling like it doesn’t leave the intro for almost ten minutes. both tracks are lower energy, generally, and while both tracks build in energy, they’re both structured similarly and i tend to feel like the album doesn’t properly get out of the Intro mode until O Green World builds it’s particular curtain of sounds. otherwise the pacing on the record is p good – i like the build into Feel Good, the slow step back into a mellower jammy space through All Alone, the second high point at DARE, and the storybook outro, it’s nice! playing to the strengths of the record for sure.

thematically i think the record works well – a bit disparate in topic but i get that happens when you’re commenting on and discussing so many different facets of the modern era.

i really liked the heavy collaboration here: i liked basically all of the rap features, and its cool that they brought in so many other musicians and features. i am aware that its a big thing throughout their discography but it works really well on this record.

but yeah, overall this was a really good time. the hits hit hard, the record as a whole is a really good time

Demon Days – 8/10

Phase 2 will continue with D-Sides, the rarities companion to this album!

the first: Gorillaz | previous: The End of Phase 1 | next: D-Sides

all my reviews for Gorillaz