It’s fair to say that Cracker Island, Gorillaz’ eighth studio album, has played almost non-stop here at themetabite.com’s offices since its release on the 24th of February. Cracker Island transports listeners away to a fantastic, fictional and psychedelic world, so it felt only appropriate to explore what a Gorillaz -inspired Metaworld might look like.
Gorillaz is a virtual band created in 1998 by British musician Damon Albarn and comic book artist Jamie Hewlett. The band consists of four animated members: 2-D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs. The band's music spans a wide range of genres, including alternative rock, hip hop, and electronic music, and is known for its eclectic style and unique blend of various musical influences.
Gorillaz gained popularity with their self-titled debut album in 2001, which featured hit singles such as "Clint Eastwood" and "19-2000”. The band's subsequent albums, including "Demon Days", "Plastic Beach", and "Humanz", have all been critically acclaimed and commercially successful, featuring collaborations with a diverse range of artists, such as De La Soul, Snoop Dogg, and Lou Reed.
One of the unique aspects of Gorillaz is the animated world that they inhabit. The band members are all represented as animated characters, with their own distinct personalities and backstories, and their music videos and live performances often incorporate animated visuals and storylines. The band's visual style has been influenced by a variety of sources, including Japanese anime, American pop culture, and British punk rock.
Gorillaz has also been praised for its commitment to social and political issues, with many of their songs addressing themes such as globalization, consumerism, and the environment. The band has also been involved in various humanitarian and charitable initiatives, including a benefit concert for Syrian refugees and a partnership with the United Nations to promote global sustainability.
While we recognise the irony a Gorillaz-inspired Metaworld – Cracker Island's themes include some of the more nefarious aspect of the virtual world – we would love to explore a virtual world based on the Gorillaz music. So, what might a Gorillaz-inspired Metaworld, or “Gorillaverse”, look like? Here at themetabite.com we imagine a post-apocalyptic pastiche world, reminiscent of Hewlett’s Tank Girl, where nature has stated to reclaim the planet. It will be a fully-realised virtual world, where fans of Gorillaz music, characters, and themes can socialise with like-minded enthusiasts, explore areas inspired by Gorillaz albums and side-projects, compete in competitions, and buy exclusive merchandise and Gorillaz -inspired non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
So what might we see and experience in the “Gorillaverse”? Gorillaz eclectic and collaborative style provides very few boundaries, which makes it very hard not to get carried away! The latest album, Cracker Island and Gorillaz third studio album Plastic Beach, provide us with a good starting point.
Visitors would land on the eponymous Cracker Island, a virtual, and literal, island, a fictional oasis, populated by members of a quasi-religious cult. Here, visitors can select their avatar’s aspect, a persona based on the characteristics of the four band members, “accident-prone/unfortunate” 2-D, “felon/satanist” Murdoc Niccals, “child prodigy” Noodle, and “supernatural” Russel Hobbs. Cracker Island provides a space for fans to interact and socialise, while acting as a jumping off point to the wider “Gorillaverse”.
One place people might visit, is Plastic Beach, a “Metazone” dedicated to environmentalism, where people can promote environmental protection and the improvement of the health of our environment, including our rivers, beaches, and oceans. They might also choose to embark on a quest, traversing the “Gorillaverse” in action role-playing game based on the legendary pilgrimage described in Monkey: Journey to the West.
Other areas include Kong Studios, the former studio and first home of Gorillaz, and the band’s current base of musical operations new Kong Studios. Here fans can explore the band’s back-catalogue, play along with the band while the jam new music, and relive live experiences, from early live gigs to Gorillaz upcoming appearance a Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The full album track listing for Cracker Island is:
1. Cracker Island (featuring Thundercat)
2. Oil (featuring Stevie Nicks)
3. The Tired Influencer
4. Silent Running (featuring Adeleye Omotayo)
5. New Gold (featuring Tame Impala and Bootie Brown)
6. Baby Queen
9. Skinny Ape
10. Possession Island (featuring Beck)
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