Humanz: Reconstructed

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Welcome to a new post series on this blog, ‘Reconstructed’, where I take a concept and I try to reconstruct it, and make it a better product. Might as well make this the last part of a Gorillaz trilogy. I am reconstructing Humanz.

What went wrong?

Humanz was released last year, to much fanfare. Gorillaz had, as of 2016/17, not released any music since their 2012 non-album single Do Ya Thing. Humanz was meant to be a concept album about Donald Trump becoming President; which during the recording of the album was not a fact as is now (He wasn’t even nominated). With that dark alternative future concept, Gorillaz got a lot of collaborators and made an album, and it wasn’t what people were expecting.

I gave a few reasons as to why I felt this album was not good on my Track by Track retrospective. Those were:

  1. The album wasn’t very unified. The central vision was lost in the multitude of collaborators, with their own artistic direction.
  2. With so many collaborators, it was hard to hear Gorillaz in the final product and was hard to discern the personalities of the virtual band.
  3. It just wasn’t the right album to comment on the current political climate. None of the songs really do feel like they’re making a commentary on things.
  4. Something I didn’t mention in my retrospective. With the central theme being about a dark, alternative future with Donald Trump as President, the album automatically dates itself. Trump was nominated, he won the Electoral College vote. Could the same be said for albums like Demon Days and Plastic Beach? Arguably, yes. The former was a commentary on post 9/11 foreign policy, but it was more subtle and actually finds itself retaining relevancy in its message so many years after its release.

Does this mean that the concept cannot be saved? I think it can be saved, and I think there’s a good album in there.

Reconstruction tools and rules

For my reconstruction, I will be using the Super deluxe and deluxe edition of the album. Altogether, there are around 40 songs to use, including the interludes, and alternative versions that aren’t remixes. One of the other issues I mentioned was that the super deluxe edition, at ¬£274, means that 99% of listeners are not going to be able to afford this and listen to all the songs.¬† I have, however, have both. Another tool I debated was using the song Sleeping Powder as a tool for the reconstruction. I will not be using it, as it was released separately from the album; in all its forms.¬†Sleeping powder does not fit the theme of the album much anyway so I will be leaving it out.

The songs will be reorganised to create an album which aims to fix the problems I listed earlier, though chiefly to create a more unified end product.

Altered Track Listing

01- Interlude- New World (Track 21 from the deluxe album)

02- Momentz (Track 5 on the standard album)

03- Strobelite (Track 3 on the standard album)

04- Duetz (from the super deluxe album)

05- Andromeda (Track 10 on the standard album)

06- Charger (Track 8 on the standard album)

07- Busted and Blue (Track 11 on the standard album)

08- Let Me Out (Track 14 on the standard album)

09- She’s My Collar (Track 17 on the standard album)

10- Out of Body (Track 23 on the deluxe album)

11- Ticker Tape (Track 24 on the deluxe album)

12- Halleujah Money (Track 19 on the standard album)

13- We’ve got the power (Track 20 on the standard album)

14- Circle of Friendz (Track 25 on the deluxe album)

This brings the total content to about 46 minutes, a much breezier album compared to even the standard edition, which clocks in at 49 minutes, including all the interludes. I used a lot less of the super deluxe edition of the album than I anticipated I would use, but I used a lot of a deluxe edition, because I felt there were a few songs on there which were much better than those on the standard album. 3 of the tracks on the reconstructed version I compiled have no collaborators, which is more than on both the standard and deluxe album; which just have one pure Gorillaz song.

The theme of this album has not changed majorly with my version over the original, only because the structure of the original album is actually largely the same. The album is sort of broken into chapters. The songs are largely confined into their chapters on my version, minus the interludes, just being slightly reorganised. What I particularly like about my version is that it sonically sounds better, and the last two tracks being contrasting in their message and overall mood. I am very proud of that.

Do I think I’ve fixed it? I think I have made it the album I wanted it to be. Others may disagree. I have, however, not found someone who loves this album, so who knows. I have reconstructed Humanz.

About the author

Ben

Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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