Gorillaz, Bad Bunny, Beck, and more collaborate on ‘Cracker Island’

Gorillaz newest LP, ‘Cracker Island’

By Connor Considine

‘Cracker Island’ is a great mesh of ideas that are both unified by the band’s brand of singing and its fictional world that constantly immerses you akin to Gorillaz’s past songs and albums. This is the first album they have released since October 2020, almost three years ago, and has been well-received by both critics and fans of the band. And that praise is justified since the album presents itself very uniquely in comparison to most albums released by other artists or bands. 

My favorite part of the album is its uniqueness. Gorillaz in itself has always presented itself in a special matter and has stayed committed to it. The band has always committed itself to being unique, a virtual band, having characters representing their musicians and presenting themselves through comic strips and short animations. They even have their own small universe which tends to set up their singles and albums. Their albums always experiment as well, with older albums like “Plastic Beach” expressing pollution as it became a more talked about issue, “The Fall” being recorded on the road during a World Tour being about experimentalism itself, “Humanz” being an emotional response to politics, and “Song Machine: Volume 1” experimenting with the band’s universe by trying to integrate music into a web series. Cracker Island continues this trend by being about outlandish ideas being in harmony with each other.

They go a long way with this attempt, too. Bad Bunny, Thundercat, Stevie Nicks, Adeleye Omotayo, Tame Impala, Bootie Brown, and Beck all feature in songs for the album, and each song they have is presented incredibly differently. The song with Beck, “Possession Island”, includes a peaceful guitar and a piano before adding in a trumpet at its end; “Tormenta” with Bad Bunny is not only almost entirely in Spanish, but it also lets the beat rest in the background, Bootie Brown and Tame Impala’s feature; “New Gold”, feels more 80s inspired with its lyrics, and for the sake of not spoiling the rest of the album, that is all I want to say about the features.

The songs without any features are also unique in themselves, with “Skinny Ape” going from guitar to synth and lamenting about a relatable state of rock bottom. “Tarantula”’s rhythm takes itself around the song and singing about standards as a concept, very reminiscent of the common theme of this album. I wish there was more to say about their songs, but the majority of their album featured, which were already covered, in addition to wanting to keep surprises.

Overall, this album does a great job at not just being a great album, but also expressing its ideas amazingly in a way that might go by in an instant. I highly recommend giving it a listen and looking out for future songs they release, no matter who they feature or when they release.