For years, Britpop fans had a choice: You were either Team Oasis or Team Blur. It was musical class warfare, as the former were known as working-class rockers from the north and the latter were an arty pop band from the middle-class south. The feud became so widespread that it even turned the bands’ leaders, Damon Albarn and Liam and Noel Gallagher, into bitter rivals. Almost two decades on, Albarn and Noel have long since buried the hatchet, and today their newfound camaraderie has been cemented with their first ever studio collaboration.
The pair have actually worked together before, forming a supergroup of sorts in celebration of The Clash’s Paul Simonon’s 60th birthday in 2015. They performed some Gorillaz songs back then, and it’s the digital band that has once again brought them back together. Gallagher provides backing vocals for the Humanz track “We’ve Got the Power”, which also features Savages’ Jehnny Beth.
“Its really great,” Albarn told Radio X of working with Gallagher. “He’s fantastic in the studio. Its nice when you see how someone goes about their business. He’s great.” Albarn also revealed the origins of “We Got the Power”:
“At one point this song had Graham (Coxon), Noel and me on it and it was sort of heading slightly in the wrong direction. It was becoming almost retro in its sort of spirit and way too rocky for this record so I kind of stripped it right back down again. We play it slightly different live then how it is on the record. It’s sort of the song that comes on during the final titles of a film. The climax. I thought Jehnny would take a bit of the testosterone off.”
Listen to the sounds of decades of Britpop bitterness fading away below.
As for expecting Liam Gallagher to chum up with Albarn as his brother has, we wouldn’t count on it. “Put it this way, Noel lives in a £17million house. That changes you, I reckon,” he explained to Q Magazine last year. “You have appropriate furniture, appropriate kitchens, appropriate red wine that Bono’s recommended. And Damon Albarn becomes your mate. Fair dos, but not for me.”
Gorillaz premiered three other tracks today: “Saturnz Barz” featuring Popcaan, “Andromeda” featuring D.R.A.M, and “Ascension” featuring Vince Staples. They also released an animated video for “Saturnz Barz” that features snippets of each of the other songs.