Gorillaz – The Valley of the Pagans ft. Beck (Episode Eight)
"The Valley of the Pagans" is a song by the British rock band Gorillaz featuring Beck Hansen. The track was released on November 5, 2020 as the 9th single from the 7th studio album "Gorillaz, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez". This is the 8th episode of the Song Machine project, a web series that includes the ongoing release of various Gorillaz tracks featuring various guest musicians throughout 2020.
Gorillaz is a popular animated group from the UK, formed in 2001, consisting of fictional members 2D, Noodle, Murdoc and Russell (all created by the creative duo of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett). So, the lead vocalist of the 90s rock band Blur, Damon Albarn is a music producer and vocalist (2D character). Jamie Hewlett, also known as the creator of the Tank Girl comics, is an artist who created the visual effects and character designs for Gorillaz. After releasing seven studio albums, Gorillaz are currently working on their monthly audiovisual project Song Machine.
Over the past 19 years, Gorillaz have continued to grow along with their fans. Unlike other virtual stars such as Hatsune Miku, Noodle is no longer the child she was in 19-2000. Another unique thing about Gorillaz is that their music videos tend to follow an overarching storyline - at least they once did. Up until the creation of Music Machine, Gorillaz's journey to where they are now could be tracked by watching their videos in chronological order. Now each episode of Music Machine is a separate adventure contained in one episode.
Directed by Jamie Hewlett, Tim McCourt, and Max Taylor, the video begins in the garage of Kong Studios, where Noodle pulls in with the band. Suddenly, a portal opens behind the car, everything falls through. The portal takes the group to Grand Theft Auto V, where they ride around a virtual world (other).
At the same time, Beck appears in a smartphone (which is mounted in the style of a GTA V game in the lower right corner of the screen), while 2-D (another character) is talking to him in the back seat of the car. The video ends with the band entering another portal and ending up in the ocean near Plastic Beach (image from the band's 3rd studio album).
While the Gorillaz have certainly visited Los Santos, it's hard to say that their trip to GTA 5 will affect their journey as a whole. At best, this episode seems to have been more of a musical advertisement for Grand Theft Auto 5, as it severely lacked the art of Jamie Hewlett. This isn't the first time this year that GTA has tampered with the world of music videos, but Gorillaz's music video has had a bigger impact on Los Santos than The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" video.