11 essential Gorillaz tracks

The band’s biggest and best songs from Clint Eastwood to The Apprentice

Gorillaz have been delighting us with their alternative, weird, edgy, socially conscious and ultimately genre-defying music since 2001. We’ve put together a list of 11 essential tracks to listen to ahead of their concert at Fiesta De Los Muertos on Friday October 27 at the Autism Rocks Arena. A beginner’s guide for those who aren’t mega fans, and a trip down memory lane for those that are.

Clint Eastwood (2001)
Album: Gorillaz
This sunshine in a bag Gorillaz classic was their first ever single and needs little introduction. It remains the most iconic of all the band’s singles, fusing alt-rock with rapping by Del the Funky Homosapien.

19-2000 (2001)
Album: Gorillaz
Gamers will no doubt recognise this song from the title theme of EA Sports FIFA Football 2002 game. Which we guess is kind of a big deal? In any case, it’s an upbeat, funky track with odd lyrics like “get the cool, get the cool shoeshine”. What’s not to like?

Dirty Harry (2005)
Album: Demon Days
What starts out as sort-of-creepy children’s choral music (from the San Fernando Valley Youth Chorus, no less) makes way for a funky electro-disco-tinged beat. Throw in some violin and rapping from Bootie Brown (of alt hip-hop group The Pharcyde), and what you’ve got is a seriously, weirdly good track.

Feel Good Inc (2005)
Album: Demon Days
Another of Gorillaz’s most recognisable singles, Feel Good Inc is pure alt-rock at its finest… until De La Soul pop in with a rap verse or two. It epitomises the band’s music, and the way they manage to seamlessly blend multiple genres into one track.

DARE (2005)
Album: Demon Days
Another disco-ey rock track, DARE shot to No. 1 in the UK. It features vocals from Shaun Ryder who played a big part in coming up with the song’s most recognisable lyrics (the repetition of “I never did no harm”). It’s the kind of track that makes you want to dance… or maybe that’s just because we’ve been watching the extra weird music video that features Noodle energetically grooving around Shaun Ryder’s huge head.

Kids with Guns (2006)
Album: Demon Days
It’s one of the band’s more mellow tracks, and proved to be one of their most popular, peaking at No. 6 in the UK singles chart before being remixed by Hot Chip and featured on hit TV show The Inbetweeners. It features vocals from Swedish singer, rapper and songwriter, Neneh Cherry.

Superfast Jellyfish (2010)
Album: Plastic Beach
A return to their earlier, retro-sounding hip-hop tunes, Superfast Jellyfish is tongue-in-cheek, using breakfast cereal jingles as satire (…we think?) and featuring De La Soul. It’s fun and upbeat, in a way that makes you feel like you’re missing some kind of deep subliminal message. You probably are.

Rhinestone Eyes (2010)
Album: Plastic Beach
This is one to listen to the lyrics of closely. “I’m a scary gargoyle on a tower that you made with plastic power. Your rhinestone eyes are like factories far away.” There’s some pretty deep stuff going on there.

On Melancholy Hill (2012)
Album: Plastic Beach
There’s an underlying sadness to this song, which tricks you into thinking it’s upbeat with its almost tropical synth beats that sound a bit reminiscent of steel drums. The whimsical lyrics, however, do what the song says on the tin: “Well you can't get what you want, But you can get me, So let's set out to sea.” That’s some serious listen-alone-in-your-room-after-a-break-up stuff, right there.

Sleeping Powder (2017)
Album: None, digital release single
Gorillaz dropped this single out of the blue. It’s a part disco, part hip-hop track, with a catchy melody and the band’s signature surreal lyrics, sung soothingly in a style that harks back to British alt-rock that was popularised by bands like The Strokes in the mid-noughties. We know, that sounds nuts. But come on, people, this is Gorillaz. You know they’re going to make it work.

The Apprentice (feat. Rag’n’Bone Man, Zebra Katz & RAY BLK) (2017)
Album: Humanz
This is a collaboration with a host of different artists, including man-of-the-moment Rag’n’Bone Man, and is from the band’s latest studio album, Humanz. Arguably their most political to date, tracks are eclectic, darkly upbeat and fun. Start with The Apprentice, another jumble of styles and genres that, put together, somehow just works. Other tracks from the album include collaborations with the likes of reggae and dancehall artist Popcaan, R&B and gospel singer Mavis Staples and rapper Pusha T.

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