Song Machine: Friday 13th
We have moved on to episode four of the fabled Gorillaz Song Machine. This installment is titled “Friday 13th,” but unfortunately did not come out in October.
“Friday 13th” features London rapper, singer, and songwriter, Octavian, and is probably the most feature heavy song on the Sound Machine so far.
This song starts heavy with Octavian’s vocals which are a mix of traditional monotoned rap and a melodious raspy melody. Octavian hits first and takes the lead for most of the song with his contribution.
Octavian brings a very tired feel to this song. His vocals are low and growly which gives way to a very somber tone to the song. I think it fits very well, especially with the music video, of which I will get into later.
The background instrumentals fall right in place here for this same low, lethargic vibe. Damon Albarn puts together an almost psychedelic, synth-pop backing track for Octavian's vocals.
Albarn seems to be taking a backseat for this song and letting Octavian lead the way. Albarn doesn’t create anything too challenging here, he just blends a simple backing to a simple song.
Not to be forgotten, however, 2-D does show up in the song with his own vocals. Similar to Octavian, 2-D hits a somber aesthetic and not much else. His main lyrics are only “Oh it’s a beautiful day,” which seems to be in stark contrast to the theming of the song.
Now, going into the music video and the ever so present lore of the Gorillaz, it looks like there isn’t much to be seem. However, I believe there’s a lot to unpack here.
Jamie Hewlett has always done a great job at being subtle. I think that’s one of the greatest aspects of his works involving the Gorillaz. It makes you pay attention to the subtleties and see what's in the background. This video is no exception.
The music video is mostly two things, an overlay of Octavian singing, and a point of view shot of a highway with flashes of the Gorillaz characters. That’s it really, until you start to rewind and look closer. Each character is sporting at least one nasty shiner, along with an array of facial injuries.
I didn’t connect the dots at first but thinking about it, I remembered the last music video. In some of the art associated with the song, we saw Russel and Noodle violently confronting Murdoc after his incident with 2-D.
It’s very upsetting to think that all four of them got into a bad physical altercation after that video. Usually Russel is the one who “takes care” of Murdoc.
One other small detail that is easily missed is everyone's facial features through the video. Russel and Noodle are visibly angry or upset, 2-D looks complacent and indifferent, but Murdoc has a quivering lip.
Let’s hope this means Murdoc has learned his lesson this time to stop messing with 2-D, unfortunately, I doubt it.
However, that’s just my interpretation of things. If you’re interested in this episode, you can give it a listen down bellow and see if you figure something else out.