Gorillaz – “Strobelite” (Singles Going Steady)

In terms of Humanz, it's one of the best tracks as Peven Everett questions our hard-heartedness and inability to come together as a society.

Mike Schiller: “Strobelite” is a perfect example of what made HUMANZ such a difficult album by Gorillaz standards: While Gorillaz have never been shy about adding guest vocalists to their songs, HUMANZ is practically a mixtape more than it is a proper album. If you heard “Strobelite” on the radio, you’d never know it was Gorillaz. Its disco-R&B intentions are shockingly straightforward, and there’s no Damon Albarn to temper Peven Everett’s vocal style. It’s a perfectly dance-ready slice of retro bounce, and the video drives home its affiliation with Albarn’s animated gang of talented hooligans but divorced from the album, it’s very difficult to hear this as Gorillaz. It’s a fine enough song searching for a true sense of identity. [6/10]

Chris Ingalls: A highly infectious dance floor track, with a genuine synth-fueled feel reminiscent of Parliament Funkadelic and a strong vocal performance from Peven Everett. Beyond just having a good beat and lots of nice bells and whistles, it’s also a well-written single. Feels good and sounds great. [8/10]

Chris Thiessen: You have to suspend the fact that “Strobelite” is a Gorillaz track. Once you’ve done that, it’s an energetic slice of synth funk featuring a charismatic performance from the largely unknown Peven Everett. Concerning Humanz, it’s one of the best tracks as Everett questions our hard-heartedness and inability to come together as a society. [7/10]

Steve Horowitz: A very catchy dance beat, but there is something reserved about the presentation of the instrumentation. The musicians seem to be holding back, not to build up tension but to be cool. The result offers nice background music, but unlike the real Strobe Light, nothing ever stops in time. The artists do not follow through with the unsaid promise of the Strobe. [6/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: The neon nu-disco vibes of “Strobelite” belie a lyrical darkness (“Are we obsidian? / Is this how it ends?”) brought to life by Peven Everett’s smooth, soulful voice. This is a fantastic show of versatility for the Gorillaz project and a catchy tune with the kind of cool synths you don’t have to feel guilty about. A retro R&B track that satisfies your inner nihilist as it pulls you out onto the dance floor. [8/10]

William Nesbitt: “Strobelite” isn’t quite sure if it wants to be a dance track — as the video implies — or a pseudo R&B track. The music suggests the former, but the vocals suggest the latter. As a result, it isn’t either one and simply straddles the dull middle. Peven Everett’s voice stands out, however. The instrumental portion from 2:12 to 2:29 is the song’s best part, and one wonders what could have been built from it. It’s fully listenable but nothing more and nothing less. [4/10]

SCORE: 6.50