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Gorillaz and The Cure’s Robert Smith Join Forces on “Strange Timez”: Stream

on September 09, 2020, 11:56am

Throughout 2020, Gorillaz have been monkeying around with their audiovisual series Song Machine, releasing five fascinating singles with big-name collaborators. Now the virtual rockers have revealed what the Machine has been building towards with Season 1 — Strange Timez, a collection of 11 new tracks (17 on the deluxe edition) that showcase up-and-coming artists alongside legendary veterans. Count Robert Smith in the latter category; the frontman for The Cure is a rare sighting after the words “featuring…’ but he’s made an exception this time for the astonishing title track, “Strange Timez”.

Gorillaz’s last album, The Now Now, came out in 2018. But Song Machine isn’t really a follow-up, because Season 1 — Strange Timez isn’t exactly an album. Rather, as drummer Russell Hobbs said, it’s “a whole new way of doing what we do.” That involves a heavy dose of collaboration — 15 non-Gorillaz artists on the 11-song version, and 24 on the 17-track deluxe edition — as well as reality-bending music videos. The songs and visuals were both primarily recorded at Kong Studios, and often find the cartoon band hanging out alongside flesh-and-blood featured artists. As the name Season 1 implies, Gorillaz plan to continue mining this vein going forward.

But while they may come out with new seasons, it’s hard to imagine the guest list getting much heavier. Besides Robert Smith, the deluxe edition of Strange Timez features (in alphabetical order), 6LACK, Beck, CHAI, Earthgang, Elton John, Fatoumata Diawara, Georgia, Goldlink, Joan as Police Woman, JPEGMAFIA, Kano, Leee John, Moonchild Sanelly, Octavian, Peter Hook, Roxani Arias, ScHoolboy Q, Skepta, Slaves, slowthai, St. Vincent, Tony Allen, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Even with all that to choose from, there’s a reason they open the album with “Strange Timez” featuring the Godfather of Goth himself. No matter how you spell it out, 2020 has felt unprecedented. Gorillaz approach episode six of Song Machine with their trademark sense of whimsy, while Smith does what he does best, with aching lyrics that locate the beauty within the horror. Check out “Strange Timez” below.


Song Machine: Season 1 — Strange Timez is out October 23rd. Previous turns of the Machine have given us “PAC-MAN”“Friday 13th”, “Désolé”, “Momentary Bliss”, and one of our favorite songs of the year so far“Aries”. In May, Gorillaz shared “How Far?” in tribute to Tony Allen, which appears on the deluxe edition of Song Machine.

In support of the release, Gorillaz have announced Song Machine Live. Going down December 12th and 13th, the event promises a unique blend of visuals and live Gorillaz performance with songs from Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez performed live for the first time globally via livestream on LiveNow in three time zones. Get more details here.

Song Machine: Season 1 – Strange Timez Tracklist:
01. Strange Timez (feat. Robert Smith)
02. The Valley of The Pagans (feat. Beck)
03. The Lost Chord (feat. Leee John)
04. Pac-Man (feat. ScHoolboy Q)
05. Chalk Tablet Towers (feat. St Vincent)
06. The Pink Phantom (feat. Elton John and 6LACK)
07. Aries (feat. Peter Hook and Georgia)
08. Friday 13th (feat. Octavian)
09. Dead Butterflies (feat. Kano and Roxani Arias)
10. Désolé (feat. Fatoumata Diawara) (Extended Version)
11. Momentary Bliss (feat. slowthai and Slaves)

Song Machine: Season 1 – Strange Timez Deluxe Tracklist:
01. Strange Timez (feat. Robert Smith)
02. The Valley of The Pagans (feat. Beck)
03. The Lost Chord (feat. Leee John)
04. Pac-Man (feat. ScHoolboy Q)
05. Chalk Tablet Towers (feat. St Vincent)
06. The Pink Phantom (feat. Elton John and 6LACK)
07. Aries (feat. Peter Hook and Georgia)
08. Friday 13th (feat. Octavian)
09. Dead Butterflies (feat. Kano and Roxani Arias)
10. Désolé (feat. Fatoumata Diawara) (Extended Version)
11. Momentary Bliss (feat. slowthai and Slaves)
12. Opium (feat. EARTHGANG)
13. Simplicity (feat. Joan As Police Woman)
14. Severed Head (feat. Goldlink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
15. With Love To An Ex (feat. Moonchild Sanelly)
16. MLS (feat. JPEGMAFIA and CHAI)
17. How Far? (feat. Tony Allen and Skepta)