It is time for episode five of the ever so giving Gorillaz Song Machine. This episode features German-born American rapper, ScHoolboy Q and is called “PAC-MAN.”
This song is a strong contender for my favorite installation of the Song Machine. It’s everything I love in a Gorillaz song. It has strong 2-D fronting vocals, a catchy instrumental, and an enjoyable transformative feature.
This song takes off quickly within its first few measures. Damon Albarn lays down a rhythmic, catchy, synth-funk instrumental to start us off. Then we have 2-D’s vocal piece to create an upbeat genesis for this song.
This is sort of in contrast to the last few instalments of the Song Machine where they have mostly been somber and almost morbid in tone. It seems we have come full circle, to the beginning of the Song Machine, to parallel “Momentary Bliss.”
However, there is a shift in tone later in the song as we enter the ScHoolboy Q section. It continues to be upbeat but shifts to a more serious deliverance for the backing instrumentals.
Now, of course, I’d like to look at the story that is unfolding here. Taking a look at the music video, we have some pretty interesting lore to discover.
At the beginning of the video, we see 2-D booting up a PAC-MAN arcade machine. However, this isn’t just any PAC-MAN machine, the characters are based off of the band.
2-D is PAC-MAN himself, and the rest of the band are the ghosts. This reminds me so much of the spirit house from “Humanz.”
As 2-D has, what looks like, the absolute greatest time playing PAC-MAN, we can see how the rest of the cast spends their free time.
Noodle is hanging out with ScHoolboy Q, and Russel is working out with a heavy bag. Murdoc is always doing something strange and this time around he’s sitting in what looks like an indoor outhouse called Murdoc’s portal.
Well, during all that 2-D is becoming enamored, almost hypnotized by this PAC-MAN machine as he eats the ghosts that represent his band mates. I believe this may be symbolism for revenge Murdoc or he subconsciously wants to one up his band mates since he is left in the dust a lot.
Either way, eventually Noodle realizes somehow that something is amiss and heads downstairs to find 2-D. The song then ends with Noodle pulling the plug on the machine and ending 2-D’s hypnosis.
There’s not entirely too much to pick apart here but like always, it’s fun to see how the Gorillaz story progresses.
As always I will link the video so you can go enjoy the song for yourself: