We’re lumping these albums together under the heading “stadium bands” because all we need to do is tell you they’re out. Oddly enough, we’ve never been fans of any: we never got Gorillaz, thought The Jam/Weller humourless (good singles, admittedly) and Paramore are the band we let the children like (they’ve got to have something parents moan about).
Gorillaz’s fifth album is apparently aimed at America, with Damon Albarn telling NME that the bulk of Gorillaz’ 16m sales (that’s more than Blur) is largely down to America. There’s certainly plenty to go at, given the country’s temporary brain freeze.
Humanz reminds us of Major Lazer, in that every track is a standalone tune, though it’s more cohesive. We’re not entirely sure it all hangs together, though. Pretty much any genre you fancy is on here from reggae to world (ok, so reggae is world) to gospel and dance bangers. Highlight is the Life of Brian-inspired non-conformist oath: “I promise to be different / I promise to be unique / I promise not to repeat things other people say.”
Having said at the top we’ve never been a fan of Weller, this, his 25th studio album, is not bad. It’s 40 years since we trooped off to Woollies (or maybe A&A) to buy The Jam’s In The City, and Batman Theme aside, found it all a little charmless.
Weller’s nothing if not hard working and varied, and A Kind Revolution jumps around the genres in an interesting way, from the soul of opener Woo Se Mama to an indie rock 70s sound in the next song, Nova. Then there’s the funk-jazz-tinged She Moves With The Fayre and the 80s funk-disco of One Tear, its bassline nodding to Heatwave’s Boogie Nights we suspect. Songs such as Long Long Road are more typical Weller ballads.
As for Paramore: we were most surprised at this: early doors, Paramore were rocky and a staple of Kerrang! but now it’s more Smash Hits. Their audience is either growing up and wants pleasant tunes to clean the kitchen to, or they’re aiming at the Got Talent generation, who want music that requires zero mental effort.
Not that it’s bad: it’s happy and bouncy pop music, with lots of melody and a sunny, tropical feel. It’ll play well in the car on a sunny day, or as inoffensive but cheerful music for a barbecue. The sunny sound is offset by the world-weary lyrics, always a feature of Paramore. Standout is maybe 26, a dreamy ballad with nice strings that is probably a live mid-set crowd-pleaser.