Best of the B Sides: “DARE”

Ah man, it’s been a while since Gorillaz have been a hot topic, hasn’t it? The virtual trip hop band made quite an impression with Demon Days (2005), landing them a spot as one of the featured artists in Apple’s early iPod television ads. It’s hard to say whether Gorillaz would have had such an impact on popular culture without the ad. It certainly made me buy the album, and I’ve always associated Demon Days with old-school iPods. So the ad clearly did its job…

It goes without saying that Demon Days is a weird album. It’s highly apocalyptic, fiercely cohesive, and outlandishly experimental (considering that it was 2005). “Feel Good, Inc.” is the most accessible track on the album and even that was a strange sound for 2005. The combination of rap, funk, pop, and synth wasn’t terribly popularized — apart from Kanye West, perhaps. So Demon Days was a fresh sound in ’05. “Feel Good, Inc.” caught listeners’ attention and continues to be a big part of the popular music scene today.

One of the greatest songs on Demon Days is one of the primary singles, but it was grossly overshadowed by “Feel Good, Inc.”. “DARE” plays with a lot of the techniques Gorillaz were experimenting with throughout the album, but it’s all in one song. With funky synth, well-designed repetition, and varying points of focus in the background, “DARE” is a dynamic, exciting, yet understated single from Gorillaz. It’s a little unsettling (in keeping with the rest of the album) and just as engaging as “Feel Good, Inc.”

Now, I’ve always speculated about the final twenty seconds or so of the song. Crowd noises are added on top of the closing instrumentals but it’s hard to make out what anyone’s saying. The most I can hear definitively is a man yelling “George.” Of course, it could be anyone, but does anyone else think this has something to do with The Beatles? I get that vibe.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Gorillaz. The world’s most successful virtual band, the strange “phases” the group went through with each album release, and their avant-garde sound. They take a bit of research to understand, so if you’re curious, check out their history here, and enjoy “DARE” while you read up on the duo behind the band. This is one Wikipedia trip that’s going to take a while…

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer

    August 5, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    throwback and i LOVE IT!

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