Point/Counterpoint: Gorillaz Release “DoYaThing”

PRO: By Andrew R. Chow

There is no doubt that Gorillaz, André 3000, and James Murphy will all be paid handsomely for their latest Converse-financed collaboration, “DoYaThing.” With little incentive to be creative, the three titans could have easily mailed in a generic track matching the bland kitsch of Zooey Deschanel and Colbie Caillat Cotton Inc. commercials. Thankfully, “DoYaThing” is an energetic anthem that showcases Gorillaz’ trademark funkiness and André 3000’s effortless talent.

The best Gorillaz songs rely on an infectious beat. “DoYaThing” accordingly features blooping synths and a springy bass. Over the top, Damon Albarn spits lyrics that mean little but are delivered convincingly with a go-go-gadget flow.

The song kicks into another gear when André 3000 enters on a drum break: “New word—onomatopoeia. Boom!” He quickly launches into a rapid-fire verse, which, like Albarn’s, is lyrically weightless but undeniably fun. “Rap ain’t nothing but all the talking shit,” he declares, and he proceeds to weave many onomatopoeias, including “splooshy sploosh” and “bloopty bloop,” into his forceful and farcical rhymes.

While James Murphy does add his soulful whine to the chorus, the song’s drive comes from Gorillaz and Andre 3000 finding the perfect overlap between their styles. André’s motivated rhyming is clear evidence that he has not lost a step during the current Outkast hiatus. Albarn and the rest of Gorillaz, meanwhile, have been steadily churning out contagious singles for the last decade and show no signs of stopping. Some music purists might complain about the increasing commercialization of music, but it is hard to argue with results this strong. Hopefully, Neutral Milk Hotel, R.E.M., D’Angelo, and other reclusive greats will get calls from various shoe companies in the near future.

—Staff writer Andrew R. Chow can be reached at andrewchow@college.harvard.edu

CON: By Sara Kantor

The new single by Gorillaz, “DoYaThing,” is undoubtedly funky. However, it is little else. With the grooving beat of a DJ gone ska and Damon Albarn’s usual nonsensical lyrics, “DoYaThing” makes a great placeholder on a longer Gorillaz playlist but ultimately lacks the catchiness or complexity to be a future party hit.

Back in the day, Gorillaz released a slew of eccentric and boundary-pushing singles which showcased a unique fusion of alt-rock, electronica, and hip hop. “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” showed the band’s humor and sly ability to mash styles. Unfortunately, “DoYaThing” is simply an emulation of the band’s more successful work. André 3000 and James Murphy bring a touch of novelty to the classic sound of Gorillaz, but the end result is a confusing mess that wanders aimlessly.

The single features very similar chord changes to “Feel Good Inc.” but has much less pop than the original. Whereas “Feel Good Inc.” weaves in and out of various instrumentations and feels, featuring a lush guitar interlude before busting back into a fierce rap verse, “DoYaThing” features the same repetitive beat the whole way through. Indeed, the insistent beat simply becomes a backing track for the theatrics of André 3000, who treats the song as little more than the Converse advertisement it really is. When the lyric “Can we get an Outkast album now?” is repeatedly layered over the end of the song, it’s hard not to agree.

—Staff writer Sara Kantor can be reached at skantor@college.harvard.edu.

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