Making our way back to the music, we have the eighth episode of the current Gorillaz project, Song Machine.
“The Valley of the Pagans,” features American singer, songwriter, Beck, and is our first instalment after the release of the “Strange Timez,” album.
This is an interesting development since there were worries that the Song Machine episodes ended with the release of the album. This is a good sign for fans as it means there may be even more episodes yet to come.
It would certainly be nice to see episodes associated with some of the recently released songs like “Dead Butterflies,” or “”Chalk Tablet Towers.”
However, I am very excited to talk about the current episode and all it has to unpack.
“The Valley of the Pagans,” starts off funky like something we would hear from the album “Gorillaz.” A heavy bassline with a simple drum backing gets us off the ground.
We then get right into Becks vocal contribution that is quite reminiscent of something we would hear from 2-D. It’s punchy but not too up-beat and blends well with 2-D’s later vocals.
After a while, we hear Damon’s classic synth stylings because of course where would the Gorillaz be without them. The synth is very excited and lends itself well to the fast paced nature of the song.
Beck almost takes the lead for most of the song here, especially leading up to the chorus with his repetitious, hip-hop like vocals.
2-D drives it home in the chorus with a more melodic and rhythmic piece that ties the song together well in its climax.
Moving on to the music video portion of the song, there is both little to see and a lot to talk about.
Again we are graced with a different shot of the new Kong Studios, this time with what seems to be the engine of a commercial airliner in the shot.
We then see the gang in a PAGAN modeled muscle car that opens and reverses into a portal. This portal takes them to a version of Hollywood called Vinewood.
Then pretty much the rest of the song is them driving around the town in their car with Noodle as the driver.
Something to note here is that this all seems to be heavily influenced by the video game “Grand Theft Auto,” or GTA for short. Beck even appears in a small smart phone at the bottom corner of the screen. This is a game play feature of GTA.
In fact, if it were my guess, I would say that the music video is mostly a modification of the game itself. The two dimensional characters were drawn and added into the car though.
However, the real fun happens at the end of the music video. As the song is coming to an end, the portal opens back up and we expect them to travel back to Kong Studios, but what we get is much more exciting.
We see a wide shot of none other than the plastic beach from, well, the album “Plastic Beach.” There’s a lot to imply here but not much to show.
The car plunges into the ocean in front of the former home base, and then the video ends.
Who knows what this implies. To my knowledge, this is the first call back in any Gorillaz music video.
This could mean absolutely nothing, or it means the Gorillaz story is about to come full circle and we might see a lot more lore in the near future.
One other connection this might have is the announcing of the Gorillaz movie. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the gang go back to plastic beach for the film, but I have no idea if they will.
All in all, this is pretty exciting and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
As always, link below for the current episode. Go give it a listen: