Gorillaz music is a perfect example of music genre transmutation. It uses various musical styles such as alternative rock, art-pop, hip hop, and electronic trip-hop. Gorillaz is a British virtual band portrayed as animated characters, cartoons, or virtual avatars, established in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. There are four animated members of the Gorillaz: 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Noddle, and Russel Hobbs.
When Albarn left his band Blur, he started exploring other genres through an eccentrically postmodern approach. Gorillaz has recorded their first album, which featured alternative rock and electronic influences such as Ghost Train- released as a B-side on their single Rock the House.
At the beginning of their career, the band genres are more of hip-hop-rock music styles, such as Clint Eastwood and Rock the House. These tracks epitomize the mix of musical styles mixing hip hop and electronic influences. But later in their career, the band starts liberating, leaning towards other music genres such as Dub and Latin music. Dub is a sub-genre that developed out of reggae, while Latin music is a broad genre for various styles of music inspired by older Latin American & Iberian music.
Gorillaz style and legacy
The Gorillaz has a postmodern style, slammed by critics who are desperate to associate them with a specific musical identity. Critics and writers usually describe Gorillaz’s style as art pop, alternative rock, hip-hop, trip-hop, new wave, experimental rock, and many more. But the band has been successful with its artistic and inclusive style of melding various music genres in a track. They have played with several genres collaborating with other artists such as Del the Funky Homosapien and De La Soul Group.
Although Gorillaz style seems to be a radical move to blur genres, they have been successful with their legacy that has influenced most of our music nowadays. Their impact on the music industry is radically reinventing the assumption of what a band could be.
Is Gorillaz Rock Music?
Gorillaz’s aesthetic style in music is not exclusive to rock. Their genre is mostly a combination of alternative rock, alternative hip hop, and electronica. We have recognized that Rock the House is the most hip-hop song of Gorillaz, but here are some of the most favorite rock tracks of the band:
- White Light
- We are Happy Landfill
Is Gorillaz an Emo?
Emo is a subgenre of punk rock, indie rock, and alternative rock music portrayed by heavy emotional expression using confessional lyrics. Emo music from bands such as My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Dashboard Confessional sound like a blend of punk, grunge, gothic alternative rock. Although Gorillaz uses a variety of music genres and has some melancholic, heavy tracks, they are far from being Emo. Moreover, because Gorillaz shifts between genres all the time, we cannot explicitly categorize their music as Emo.
What are the musical influences of Gorillaz?
A Brit-rock icon, Damon Albarn, and the visual direction of Jamie Hewlett has inspired the creation of Gorillaz. They have pushed the boundaries between music and visual arts. They have dodged the music categorization while enjoying the liberty to dabble with various music genres. Their inspiration is some of the 60’s famous cartoon bands such as the Banana Splits, The Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Gorillaz’s main musical influences include some of the famous bands in the English music industry such as:
- Massive Attack- an English electronic band
- The Specials- an English 2-Tone and ska revival band
- Big Audio Dynamite – a 1984 English band using mixed-musical style
Moreover, they have also used some of the techniques of influential musicians like Human League, Zapp, the Kinks, XTC, and DJ Kool Herc.
Artist Influenced by Gorillaz
Gorillaz’s success as a virtual band is undeniable. Their contribution to the music industry is still relevant up to this date. They have inspired most of our manufactured-fictional bands and musical projects. The most notable musical projects inspired by Gorillaz’s bizarre genre and unique style are:
- Major Lazer – a Jamaican American electronic dance music DJ trio
- Foster the People- an American indie pop band
Their influence is not only meaningful to music but extends even in the world of animation. Gorillaz influenced the Cartoon Network’s City era from the early 2000s. Animated series such as The Amazing World of Gumball, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teen Titans, and Kipo & the Age of Wonder beasts were a few of Gorillaz’s inspired animated series. It also includes famous video games like Borderlands, Sunset Overdrive, No Straight Roads, Battlefield, and League of Legends.
There is no doubt about the influence of Gorillaz on the music industry. They have made a notch, even without physically existing. They continue to be relevant, not just in music but in the world of animation and video games.