Song Machine: Strange Timez

Spencer Myers
3 min readOct 19, 2020

Up next om the Song Machine, we have episode six titled “Strange Timez.” This installation features English singer, songwriter, Robert Smith.

This spacey episode is different to say the least. Of course, that’s to be expected with each new Gorillaz Album. We are bound to go off the rails at some point.

However, even though it is a bit out there, pun intended, it still somehow screams Gorillaz. With his masterful mixing and sound engineering, Damon Albarn really brought this track together for a psychedelic addition to the Song Machine.

“Strange Timez,” starts off with, like I said, a psychedelic feel along with an eerie piano and synth backing. Smith kicks off the vocals with his strained and writhing voice additions.

Smith is adding a stark contrast to what we are used to and what we hear now in 2-D’s vocals. Where 2-D is more lowkey and monotone, Smith takes the higher end of the track and runs with a more punchy strained melody.

This song takes on a more noisy and loud nature to it compared to the other Song Machine tracks. It’s to be excepted with the theming of the song and music video. However, if I’m being honest, I prefer the style and flow of songs like “Momentary Bliss,” or “Aries.”

Looking into the video, there’s a lot to unpack here. Just a fair warning, I used psychedelic multiple times in this story for a reason. For starters, they are in space. Specifically, they travel to the moon.

This isn’t the Gorillaz first interstellar trip but this time, instead of a rocket fitted convertible, they travel comfortably in the band RV.

While making the trip to the moon, we are graced with a shot of the moon plastered with Smith’s singing face. After they land, Noodle and Murdoc go exploring while 2-D and Russel hold down the fort.

Noodle finds what looks like a blank digital billboard and promptly blows it up with dynamite. 2-D then joins the exploration on the moons surface while Murdoc discovers a tall, rectangular, black monument/obelisk.

Russel, for some reason, takes this time as an opportunity to practice his drifting with the RV. Smith gets more face overlays on the Russian satellite Sputnik and what seems to be a generic modern satellite.

Murdoc then decides to step through the obelisk like a portal and is teleported back to Kong Studios. After that, the gang heads back to earth and we get one last shot of the moon which now has the message “Be The Change,” spelled out in craters.

I’m not going to pretend to know what was going on here. The only thing I can say is that one message was pretty obvious, which is “Be The Change.”

It’s safe to say that this has to do with something along the lines of the current world status. Go out and be good people. Be what you want to see in the world and change it.

The rest, well, I think it’s up to interpretation, so have fun with it.

Like always, the link for the video is listed below so go and check out “Strange Timez,” for yourself:

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Spencer Myers
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I am a Penn State student studying digital journalism. I would like to dive into the latest Gorillaz experience, song machine, and give my opinion on the topic.