With their new album Humanz dropping this Friday, I’ve been diving into Gorillaz’s early discography. Panning into frame toward the end of Gorillaz’s 2005 album Demon Days, “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head” is less of a song and more of a story. Narrated by the late filmmaker and actor Dennis Hopper and facilitated by a funk beat, the song is basically a three-minute audiobook with a chorus.
Hopper recounts the tale of the Happyfolk living at the foot of a volcano called Monkey, whose placid existence is interrupted by the Strangefolk who seek to mine the mountain for its rich gem deposits. It’s a classic tale of corporate greed and the destruction it brings upon the locals. In the end, the volcano erupts and everyone dies.
In the final lines are softly sung by Damon Albarn, voicing the Gorillaz character 2D. He makes an explicit connection between the Strangefolk and America, posing the question, “…where were you when it all came down on me? Did you call me out?”
Gorillaz’s album Humanz releases this Friday, April 28th.