Our favorite virtual band Gorillaz has stopped monkeying around and released what UPROXX describes as an “apocalyptic” music video. Hallelujah Money, featuring the elusive Benjamin Clementine, is their first single after their six year hiatus. They released it just in time for President Donald Trump’s inauguration and no, it’s not by chance.
This virtual quartet created by Damon Albarn (Blur) and Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl) has always been vocal on the issues of hard-hitting reality. They address this through their art, may it be their songs or the videos that come with them. Gorillaz wants to address another 3D problem called Trump. 90s and hip-hop kids, it’s time to scream hallelujah — the band is back to help keep us woke!
Since six years could give us temporary amnesia on the times they made us politically aware, here are six instances when Gorillaz made us socially aware before being ‘woke’ was even a thing.
Free Tibet Campaign
One of the first instances where we see this band stand up for their advocacies. Free Tibet was a campaign to remove the Chinese occupation in Tibet. This was to allow Tibetans a choice to determine their own future, which is a fundamental human right.
Found as a G-Bite short on their Phase One: Celebrity Take Down DVD, it has none of their spooky or comic relief tactics. It was a simple video with their singer 2D meditating with Tibetans at what appears to be in a street in London. Simple but thought provoking.
Dirty Harry Music Video
Hallelujah Money received mixed reviews for being political, and a lot of fans were also disappointed. But this single from their “Demon Days” album back in ‘05 proved that false. They released this single during the height of the Iraq War and it still remains as one of their iconic singles.
Bootie Brown spat the line: “The war is over so says the speaker with the flight suit on.” He refers to former President George W. Bush’s “mission accomplished” speech. But Gorillaz ask this question: at what cost?
Kids with Guns
This single is one of their unknown tracks. The music video is simply a montage of hand drawn guns in red, black, and white color scheme. Their message contrasts its simplicity. The song was released during the height of school shootings in America. Albarn wrote this when his daughter’s classmate brought a knife in class, observing how heightened and glamorized violence is among children.
Reject false icons, respect false icons
Another Gorillaz campaign special, they released their single RockIt — an embodiment of the band’s creepy and eerie persona (homage to the Exorcist and celebrity zombies galore) — to support their advocacy: reject false icons, respect false icons. Their slogan addresses people’s heightened idolatry when it comes to celebrities, how we treat celebrities like gods, even though they are human like us. That’s why we should respect them rather see them as larger than life idols.
This was a multi-collaborative album with beautiful, multi-genre, tracks addressing one problem: marine waste. You might be blinded by the stars featured in this album — Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack, and Lou Reed all lent their talents to it. But this album has a straightforward theme; the title of the album itself summarizes it all.
Where do we start? Is it the fact that they mimicked the hallways of Trump Towers? Is it the video projections behind an unblinking Benjamin Clementine? There was a projection of the KKK, atomic bombs, and other chaos that Trump’s reign might bring. There was even a surprise appearance of our beloved cartoon icon.
Overall, the single addresses the rise of money-based power ruling across different nations, specifically the United States of America. What Gorillaz aims with this is to keep our eyes peeled like Clementine.
There was a line in Hallelujah Money that said: “until we say so, nothing will move.” Whoever listens to this band should take that line to heart. Gorillaz and other artists with such strong advocacies are here to initiate the spark, but it’s up to us to move and to think. Staying woke is one thing, and moving while you’re woke is another.