The story behind the conception of Gorillaz is one of the most natural and wonderful things to have happened in music since Noel Gallagher reached for a disused guitar lying around his childhood home. It’s the tale of two blokes sat on a sofa watching MTV, deciding everything was shit, getting up and doing something about it by creating fictional pop star characters backed with real, finely crafted, brilliant pop music. On Melancholy Hill boasts the aforementioned qualities, and over ten years since the Gorillaz dream was born, they’ve cemented their position as British pop royalty.
Damon Albarn has once again captured the public’s imagination with a song that’s come along at just the right time, when the British weather is surprisingly good and there’s a vacancy for ‘summer anthem 2010’ waiting to be filled. Mr Albarn, you are hired. On Melancholy Hill, probably the most unashamedly pop moment by Gorillaz to date, comes as no surprise as it fits the blueprint of third album, Plastic Beach. “I’m making this one the most pop record I’ve ever made in many ways, but with all my experience to try and at least present something that has got depth”, Damon said of the LP. Mission accomplished I’d say.
Akin to Damon’s other day job, Blur, On Melancholy Hill is Gorillaz’ very own Out Of Time, sounding very much like its sister, but with glossier lipstick on. The concept of Plastic Beach is fully realised on this track, as it transports you to an idyllic place, and what better location than a beach? Plastic beaches with melancholy hills is typical of Damon’s talent for lyrical imagery, a skill he’s been honing since he first bounced around on Top Of The Pops with a mop top hairdo. His good ear for a melody also continues to astound me with a simple, yet brilliantly charming hook that will have Coxon stroking his chin and consulting his 2011 diary.
“Just looking out on the day of another dream” croons Albarn, delivering every lyric with a sense of meaning that nobody else could on a track that’s tinged with shades of sadness, yet manages to sound cheery at the same time. Far removed from the hip hop sound that they are best associated with, we’re shown another side of Gorillaz. It’s another telling sign that Damon is caught up in a whirlwind of his own ideas with not enough time in the world to get them out of his system. It’s not the worst position to be in really, is it? Prolific indeed.
Matt HumphreyJust Published: