Today we are listening to Gorillaz. You probably all know this song, or at least one of the songs of this album.
This song is sad. The music is sad and the song has a certain poignant hopelessness. El Mañana means 'tomorrow' in Spanish, and this song seems to project a dystopic tomorrow where beauty is destroyed to make way for progress.
This is part of the Album 'Demon Days' which is quite inspired as poppy albums go. Instead of being a series of disconnected singles that are mass produced for quick sale, this album is a concept album. Almost a continuous track, the songs of the album lead into each other and seem to paint a portrait of a futuristic and possibly post apocalyptic world.
The band are well known for their habit of never appearing in their video-clips, but using their
invented cartoon personas. The video-clips for the whole album make use of common themes and characters; the floating windmill among others.
This whole idea seems to borrow from the Japanese anime tradition; it reminds me rather of a combination of say Nausica - Valley of the Winds and maybe one of the animated Highlander videos.
Anyways, El Mañana is one of the more depressing songs but the juxtaposition between the layers of syncopated and un-syncopated rhythms really give this song some groove.
Why you should be listening to this right now?
Gorillaz move within a very conventional music medium; namely electronic pop, and yet they make it interesting and really do approach the music from a very conceptual-artistic perspective - how many other pop bands create a fantastic world like this and then integrate it all into a concept album.
Pay attention to:
- The descending chord progression which contributes to the hopelessness.
- The beauty within this song. The contrasts of sounds and the male vocals really create a sort of delicate beauty; I have a mental image of something like; a bird flying over the carnage of a deserted muddy battlefield.
This goes well with:
Other Gorillaz. Japanese anime.