You know, when I saw the new Murdoc picture this morning I had the slightest inkling that, in the anticipation of the inauguration, they might be building up to making some kind of statement. I disregarded the thought because I didn’t want to assume that the entire world cares about American politics and Gorillaz is typically so overtly political. And then they proved me wrong in both accounts.
I’m still at my internship, so I don’t have time to thoroughly break down all of my thoughts about the single but I do want to comment about the politics. I believe that we need the arts more than ever right now and if I’m being honest, Gorillaz has often not been political enough for me. Yes, some of the lyrics allude to certain topics but they have not always made straightforward statements about specific issues when I wish they had. Releasing this single when they did says so much about their awareness of state of politics today, along with the potentially dire consequences the actions of our elected leaders could have on the majority of the world. It shows a desire to use their platform to stand against the policies touted by the far right and imo, that means SO much.
I challenge anyone questioning the direction Gorillaz seems to be taking with their politics to think about the role politics has played in art and vice versa, especially in the rock and alternative genres. Be it theater, art, film or music, artists have used their voices and creations to document and interpret the state of the world in which they live. This is not a new concept and the result are often powerful and impactful. For rock music, it’s been more important than ever where music is a form of protest and cultivating communities where self-expression is valued. In recent decades, the genre has become increasingly white and male, and for me personally, there has been skepticism in just how intersectional it is able to be. Gorillaz decision to release this single today, to make this statement show me that the creators ARE conscious of these “dark times” (to quote Murdoc) and are willing to embrace some of the tenants of rock/alternative music (and art as a whole) to stand in solidarity with those most vulnerable. I’m happy to see them including themselves in the conversation, and understanding that now is not the time to say nothing. Welcome back, guys 👏.