Gorillaz: 5 things that stand out in the new music video for “Humility”
Probably the most well-known and certainly the most mainstream virtual music band, Gorillaz, is coming back this year with a new album called The Now Now. They have already released a new music video from the album called “Humility”, featuring George Benson. The video became the number one trending video on YouTube worldwide the day of its release. They also released a music video for Lake Zurich but that song has only been released as a visualizer instead of a fully developed music video. Gorillaz in the past have shown how innovative their music can be, as the fictional band tells the story of Murdoc, 2-D, Russel and Noodle. “Humility”, however, stands out for many reasons among their other music videos, in ways I’ll explain below.
A Power Puff Girl Character?
Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room first. Murdoc, the bassist and evil mastermind of the band, is in jail. We found this out in February, as a video of Murdoc accepting an award from prison was released. This means, staying consistent to their story, the Gorillaz are short one member. This is where the band finds an unexpected member: a character from the Power Puff Girls. Ace is the defacto leader of the Gangrene Gang (a pun on Gang Green, as the members were all green) and shown in the music video knifing a poor basketball. Now, we’ve known this for a little while now, but to see Ace in a Gorillaz video is insanely cool. They also made the former nuisance of a character look very awesome, giving his classic look a modern update.
A Wild Jack Black Appears
Gorillaz is not averse to having Hollywood celebrity in their videos. In fact, they had legendary action movie star Bruce Willis play a bounty hunter chasing the band. This video gets its extra star power in the form of veteran comedian Jack Black. He appears on the 33rd second of the music video and stays in it on and off for the whole video. He’s seen with a Stratocaster enjoying a lone picnic when he starts playing the electric guitar as 2-D passes him by on skates. He is repeatedly seen trying to steal 2-D’s thunder and grab attention of the camera, which is interesting. Maybe Gorillaz meant it as a metaphor of how Hollywood tries to grab attention from anything original and transfer it onto themselves.
2-D Has White Eyes
From 2-D’s backstory, we know how he came to have his signature all black eyes. Murdoc, in his insane quest to become a star, rams his automobile into 2-D’s uncle’s showroom, injuring and blackening one of 2-D’s eyes, forcing him to a vegetative state. Murdoc would be charged and sentenced to 30,000 hours of community service, much of which would be taking care of 2-D. Murdoc, however, would only further injure 2-D, this time in the other eye, and turn both of 2-D’s eyes black. This would also shock 2-D out of his vegetative state, who would be recruited by Murdoc for the way his eyes looked. 2-D is surprisingly missing this signature feature at the start of the video, which I couldn’t find an explanation for. He does end up with black eyes by the end of the video when Russel trips him, but it remains unclear why he didn’t have them in the beginning. As a side note, it could be the physical manifestation of 2-D taking his place as the leader of the rag-tag group, but that wouldn’t make sense because he does go back to having his black eyes.
The music video is what many would describe as chill music. It’s a very laid back and happy tune, which is a serious departure for Gorillaz considering their music constantly revolves around darker, sadder themes. It seems Gorillaz took their music, which was already very melodious, and followed vaporwave with them. For the uninitiated, vaporwave is a genre of music invented on the internet that uses nostalgia of the past decades and mixes them with soothing music to create a calming effect on the listener. “Humility” does something very similar by having the signature melodious tunes of Gorillaz mixed with nostalgic vibes. Setting the video in Venice Beach, California while 2-D rolls around in very 80s tennis shorts is sure to create some kind of Déjà vu in even those who have never been there, including myself. The entire song is truly a joy to listen to, from the lyrics, to the music, to the video itself, shot on a bright, beautiful California day.
Noodle is All Grown Up
Noodle, the band’s formerly pre-pubescent lead guitarist, had already been seen growing up in the previous music videos but it is most prominent in this one. “Humility” shows her wearing a Hello Kinky tee shirt, a clear pun at the Hello Kitty brand’s expense, as she is seen playing chess and seemingly winning. Noodle only makes an appearance for a measly 8 seconds but its enough time to see how the little girl has become a young adult.