Gorillaz – “Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)” (Singles Going Steady)

It's been a while since we heard from Gorillaz; this is a very solid way to return.

Jordan Blum: I’d be happy about this almost by default just because it marks the return of Gorillaz. There’s a nostalgic sense of joy that comes with seeing these mascots back in action. Luckily, the video and music is actually really solid. In fact, the opening gives the band more personality than I’ve ever seen before, and the colorful and crude haunted house vibe is a perfect continuation of their beloved vibe. As for the track itself, I didn’t expect the reggae forefront, but it fits well with the eerie backing track. After all, Gorillaz has always been about merging styles and never really sticking to any set sound, so this works. Of course, when Albarn adds his unmistakable essence, it’s classic Gorillaz. If the whole new record combines newness with trademarks this well, it’ll be great. [9/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Everyone’s favorite virtual band joins forces with Jamaican DJ/singer-songwriter Popcaan on “Saturnz Barz”, a midtempo jam that walks the line between creepy and chillout. It has a low, steady groove and a sinister feel; the video, meanwhile, offers another delightfully bizarre chapter of the Gorillaz saga. It’s a decent cut, but it doesn’t offer much to people who haven’t been actively anticipating more from Gorillaz for the past five years. Luckily, there are other singles off of the upcoming Humanz that have a broader appeal already. [5/10]

Mike Schiller: The sound of Gorillaz in 2017 is difficult to nail down so far, but “Saturnz Barz” isn’t a million miles from what we’ve heard before. We have a guest (Popcaan, who does fine) rapping over some spooky beats, we have a very sleepy-sounding Damon Albarn offering something to sing along to at the end of the song, and we have a typically twisted cartoon to watch while it’s all going on. While it’s not shifting the paradigm too much, though, it is very well-produced and intriguing enough to invite multiple listens. It’s been a while since we heard from Gorillaz; this is a very solid way to return. [8/10]

SCORE: 7.33