Gorillaz “Cracker Island” is catchy but not their best

Gabriel TerWee, Staff Writer

Gorillaz released their eighth studio album “Cracker Island” on Feb. 24.  

The album features the likes of many genre-bending artists but still struggles at times to crawl out of the shadow of its predecessors. With sounds similar to previous albums, Gorillaz tried to lean on the help of their electric guests to make the album something new.   

The album starts with the song “Cracker Island” sung by Gorillaz lead singer Damon Albarn and Thundercat on top of a funky beat. Next, we see the likes of Stevie Nicks on the song “Oil.” It is exciting to see older influences of the music industry collaborating across genres. Yet, Nicks’ impact on the song was very marginal. Her vocals were often covered by Albarn’s powerful voice throughout the piece.  

Then we are blessed by Adeleye Omotayo’s voice delivering perfect punctuation to an already dreamy chorus in “Silent Running.” The album’s first half rounds off with a transcending track featuring Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and Bootie Brown of the Pharcyde. A song that impressed me with its creative nature compared to other, not so impressive, parts of the album. It was refreshing to hear the mash-up of indie/alternative with Brown’s hip-hop flow.  

On the flip side of the album, we get more Albarn. The beginning two tracks are incredibly similar to their last works. We can start to see Gorillaz relying on the old, but up to this point, the relatively undefeated formula of song-making. We then get to see one of the world’s biggest music talents, Bad Bunny.  

The eighth track “Tormenta” is a clicky, hip-shaking instrumental that shows the most feature impact in the whole album. The groove is set from the first beat but gets taken to another level when Bad Bunny hops on the mic.  

The closing two tracks on the album start with “Skinny Ape.” The pace starts slow yet picks up throughout the song and could have you jumping around dancing by the end. The album then rounds off with an impactful feature from Beck. The final track carries a hopeful composition with lines such as, “And we’re all in this together ‘till the end.” The story is bolstered by a masterful instrumental leaning heavily on a piano that holds the song up well. 

Overall the album has some bounce to it but was frustrating at times. The artists brought in to feature were intriguing on paper but were almost non-existent at times. Often taking the passenger seat to Albarn. The “Cracker Island” album wasn’t Gorillaz greatest work, but I believe it will hold up in time as a good eighth album for the band.