it's so hard for a good soul to survive.
You can't even trust the air you breathe
'cause Mother Earth want us all to leave.
When lies become reality
you numb yourself with drugs and TV.
Pick yourself up, it's a brand new day
so turn yourself 'round
don't burn yourself, turn yourself,
turn yourself around to the sun..."
It was a considerable New Sound Album with more emphasis on pop music, which resulted in more hits than their previous album. The art style and packaging were also upgraded, with Noodle being re-modeled as an older teenager with a less stereotypically Asian caricatured face.
"Dare," "Feel Good Inc." and "Dirty Harry" were released as singles, each respectively reaching #1, #2, and #6 on the UK Singles charts, with "Feel Good Inc." going on to become not only one of the band's Signature Songs, but one of the most popular songs of the 2000s.
The album peaked at #1 in the UK (where it went sextuple platinum) and #6 in the US (where it went double platinum); it made several lists of the best albums of the year, and went on to make more lists for the best albums of the entire decade.
- "Intro" (1:03)
- "Last Living Souls" (3:10)
- "Kids with Guns" (3:47)
- "O Green World" (4:32)
- "Dirty Harry" (3:43)
- "Feel Good Inc." (3:41)
- "El Mañana" (3:50)
- "Every Planet We Reach is Dead" (4:53)
- "November Has Come" (2:41)
- "All Alone" (3:30)
- "White Light" (2:08)
- "DARE" (4:04)
- "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" (3:16)
- "Don't Get Lost in Heaven" (2:00)
- "Demon Days" (4:28)
Tropes Coming Out of the Monkey's Head:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Used in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."Now everybody's dancing the dance of the dead, the dance of the dead.
- After the End: Again, "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."And then came a sound. Distant at first, it grew into castrophany so immense it could be heard far away in space. There were no screams. There was no time. The mountain called Monkey had spoken. There was only fire. And then... nothing.
- Album Intro Track: The first track, fittingly titled "Intro," sets up the general tone for the rest of the album.
- Album Title Drop: "Demon Days."In demon days, it's cold inside...
- All Just a Dream: The music video of "DARE" turns out to be a nightmare Shaun Ryder was having… that Murdoc was actually experiencing.
- Alliterative Title: "Demon Days".
- All Part of the Show: Nobody noticed that the helicopters in "El Mañana" were genuinely trying to kill Noodle until after the filming was finished.
- Ambiguously Human: It's unclear if the Happy and Strange Folk featured in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" are intended to be humans or not.
- Brain in a Jar: Shaun Ryder's head in the music video of "Dare."
- "El Mañana" features a distinct synth sound that is first implemented in the album's intro.
- "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" gets name-dropped in the next track, "Don't Get Lost in Heaven".There was crack on the corner and someone dead,
and fire coming out of the monkey's head.
- A seven-note melody that was heard in "Don’t Get Lost in Heaven" was also implemented in the final song "Demon Days".
- Call to Agriculture: "O Green World" has an environmental message.
- Celebrity Is Overrated: "Feel Good Inc.", where the band's success has taken a toll on them.
- Chekhov's Volcano: In "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head," the mountain called Monkey turns out to be this.
- Continuity Nod: A school choir sings the refrain of "Dirty Harry": I need a gun / to keep myself from harm., which is similar to "Kids with Guns"' theme.
- Creepy Child: "Kids with Guns" about gun violence among children and teenagers.
- Crossing the Desert: The music video of "Dirty Harry" is set in the desert where 2D and some children sing a song while a rescue mission is on the way to come and get them out of there.
- Dancing Is Serious Business:
- "Dirty Harry":All I wanna do is dance!
- Despite Noodle's eccentric way of dancing during the music video of "Dare," she is still a marvel to look at.
- "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head":Now everybody's dancing the dance of the dead, the dance of the dead.
- "Dirty Harry":
- Darker and Edgier: This album is bleaker than the band's self-titled debut, with lyrics about death, despair and gun violence among children. Even the album cover illustrates this.
- A Day in the Limelight: The videos for "DARE" and "El Mañana" focus on Noodle. The other three made cameos in "DARE"; Murdoc is the only one with lines and speaks only a sentence. Noodle says in an interview that the reason 2D and Russel were WTFing during the video is because she didn't warn any of them that she was going to record the clip.
- The Dead Can Dance: The line "now everybody's dancing the dance of the dead" from "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Death Mountain: The mountain Monkey in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Despair Event Horizon:
- "Kids with Guns" is sang in a monotone voice, but when it gets to the chorus emotion and hopelessness start to get in the voice.
- "Feel Good Inc.," in which everyone is locked up and 2D appears desperate to get out in the music video.
- "Every Planet We Reach is Dead."
- Downer Ending: "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" ends with the Strangefolk's reckless gem mining triggering a volcanic eruption, causing the Happyfolk to face The End of the World as We Know It. Dennis Hopper's narration makes it extra chilling.
- Dream Within a Dream: "Dare"'s music video shows that the entire thing was a dream of the head in a jar, who is sleeping safely next to Murdoc. Then Murdoc wakes up frightened.
- Dug Too Deep: The Strangefolk in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Electronic Speech Impediment: "All Alone" makes use of this during the refrain.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The last spoken verse of "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Evil Laugh and Laughing Mad: The laughter heard during "Feel Good Inc."
- Eyes Never Lie: The Happyfolk and Strangefolk in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Face on the Cover: The band in profile shots.
- Fading into the Next Song: "Dirty Harry" and "Feel Good Inc." run together with some seriously creepy laughter.
- See Siamese Twin Songs below.
- Fluffy the Terrible: A mountain called "Monkey" sounds cute, right? Not when you listen to "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Gratuitous Spanish: The title of "El Mañana." Averted in the actual song.
- Genre Roulette: Many songs fall into different genres, often mixing them together as they please.
- Piano-pop ("Last Living Souls")
- Dream pop ("Kids With Guns")
- Trip-hop ("O Green World," "El Mañana")
- Choir-rap ("Dirty Harry")
- Alternative rock/hip-hop ("Feel Good Inc.")
- Psychedelic rock ("Every Planet We Reach Is Dead," "White Light," "Fire Coming Out of a Monkey's Head")
- Hip-hop/rap ("November Has Come")
- D&B-rap ("All Alone")
- Disco-pop ("DARE")
- Gospel ("Don't Get Lost in Heaven," "Demon Days")
- Grief Song: "El Mañana" is probably the saddest song they've written. The song's music video encapsulates its sorrow with Noodle's floating island being destroyed and Noodle presumably being killed.I saw that day,
lost my mind.
- Homoerotic Dream: Murdoc's dream in "DARE"'s music video, in which he wakes up next to Shaun Ryder.
- Hope Springs Eternal: The ultimate message of the album and of the titular track, despite the Darker and Edgier leaning. As described by Russel in Rise of the Ogre:"The track's a positive reassurance. Today's a new day. We still have everything to gain, and a universe to fight for."
- Kick the Dog: Murdoc slaps one of the children in the music video of "Dirty Harry".
- Kids Rock: A school choir sings the refrain of "Dirty Harry": "I need a gun / to keep myself from harm." The kids seen in the "Dirty Harry" video are apparently based on the children from that choir.
- Kill the Cutie: Almost happens with Noodle in the music video of "El Mañana" where she enjoys the tranquility of her floating island until helicopters destroy it and her own fate remains unknown at the end. She later appears In-Universe alive, and Word of God is that she escaped by parachuting out at the last second.
- Last Note Nightmare: "El Mañana" ends with the blaring of emergency sirens.
- Limited Lyrics Song: The lyrics to "White Light" consist entirely of Title Drops, interspersed with "Alcohol, alcohol, alcohol." Fortunately, it's only two minutes long, with an instrumental break in the middle.
- Locked in the Dungeon: The people in "Feel Good Inc." are all locked up in a large room where helicopters prevent them from being able to escape.
- Lyrical Dissonance: 2D doesn't look or sound particularly happy while singing "Feel Good Inc." in the music video.
- Mood Whiplash: When 2D starts singing in "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head", it transitions from a nice fairy tale to a song where people are dying due to greed, though said message ultimately parallels what happens in the fairy tale.
- Musical Squares: The famous cover, as homage to The Beatles' Let It Be.
- New Sound Album: Darker and more theatrical than their debut.
- Nightmare Face:
- Murdoc's close-ups in the music video of "Feel Good Inc." The way 2D turns around in "Feel Good Inc.," jerkily twisting his body around until his head is on completely backwards before he finally turns it too.
- Russel's creepy look at the camera while driving the car in the music video of "Dirty Harry."
- The colossal face without a body in the music video of "Dare."
- The illustration to "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" in the album booklet.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Every Planet We Reach is Dead," "Dirty Harry" and "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- No One Could Survive That!: The ending to the "El Mañana" video.
- Ominous Multiple Screens: Seen in the music video of "Feel Good Inc."
- One-Man Song: "Dirty Harry."
- Only Sane Man: Invoked in-universe - Noodle penned the song "Last Living Souls" out of the feelings of isolation she gained from hearing the dreadful state of pop culture at the time. The song itself deals with the idea of being the only compassionate beings left in an increasingly cynical world.
- Peace & Love Incorporated: "Feel Good Inc." The Nightmare Fuel-filled video depicts the male band members apparently trapped in one of these. It's not clear what Feel Good Inc. actually does, if anything, but the building is a tall tower set in a dystopian wasteland, with creepy red lighting in the tower and TV screens showing film of people laughing insanely.
- The atmosphere inside, with most of the guests lying around in stupor, implies a brothel, nightclub or drug den, perhaps all at once.
- 2D kind of brings up that Gorillaz are the ones who made the tower in the first place, so it's like they were wallowing in their success until it, for lack of a better word, fermented.2D: The palace we built has become a prison... That's what the song's about.
Murdoc: Looks like a good party to me.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: In "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head," Dennis Hopper describes the eruption of The Mountain Called Monkey as "a castrophany." Presumably, this is a portmanteau of "cacophony" and "catastrophe."
- "Psycho" Strings: "O Green World" has them.
- Pun-Based Title: "Dare" has the opening line: "It's Dare!" which sounds like "It's there!"
- Recursive Reality: Though it's not explained further, "DARE" has the entirety of the video taking place in Shawn Ryder's nightmares... inside Murdoc's nightmares.
- Rhetorical Question: "Are We The Last Living Souls?"
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Happy Folk from "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" resemble tiny purple humanoids with oversized heads and eyes, making them look quite cute.
- Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: "Feel Good Inc." criticizes the hedonistic lifestyle of the rich and famous.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: The music video for "Dirty Harry" has 2D and a group of children marooned in the desert, and 2D performing the song to keep them occupied while Russel, Noodle, and Murdoc drive to the rescue in an APC. The video ends with the APC picking up 2D and the kids, driving off into the dunes... and breaking down after about 100 yards, leaving them stranded again.
- Shaking the Rump: Noodle does this in the music video of "Dare."
- She Is All Grown Up: Noodle went from an Ambiguous Gender-ed kid to a very obviously female young adult.
- The album cover is a homage to the one on The Beatles' Let It Be. Inside the album's booklet, the pages for "Every Planet We Reach is Dead" has another shout-out in which the band members strike poses that mimic the album cover of Help!.
- "Kids with Guns" quotes from "Push It" by Salt-N-Pepa.
- "Dirty Harry" is a titular reference to Dirty Harry, continuing the Clint Eastwood imagery that started with the song "Clint Eastwood" on their first album "Gorillaz." The image on the musical single is a helmet, referencing the poster of Full Metal Jacket.
- The music video of "Dare" shows the statue of Pazuzu, a reference to The Exorcist. Ryder's head being kept alive is a shout-out to The Brain That Wouldn't Die and Russel's newspaper has the line "Cannibal Massakren," the Danish title of Cannibal Holocaust. The zoom on Noodle's eye is a reference to TheRing.
- Shirtless Scene: 2D in the "Dirty Harry" video. Murdoc is seen without a shirt more often than with one.
- Siamese Twin Songs: "Don't Get Lost in Heaven" and "Demon Days," strung together by a gospel choir.
- Single Stanza Song:
- "Dirty Harry," with the exception of Bootie Brown's rap at the end.
- "White Light" is a straighter example, overlapping with Limited Lyrics Song, as the stanza itself is composed of the same three words repeated several times.
- Special Guest:
- Dennis Hopper reads the story during "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head."
- Shaun Ryder from Happy Mondays sings "Dare" and appears as the head in the music video.
- Bootie Brown from The Pharcyde has a cameo during "Dirty Harry."
- Neneh Cherry has guest vocals during "Kids with Guns."
- De La Soul performs the rap (and the laughter) in "Feel Good Inc."
- "November Has Come" features the late MF Doom.
- "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead" features a piano solo from Ike Turner, the late husband of Tina Turner.
- Spoken Word in Music:
- The introduction welcomes the listener. In a very creepy voice.
- "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" is read by Dennis Hopper.
- Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: The helicopters trying to kill Noodle in "El Mañana" use this tactic in their opening attack volley.
- Title Track: The final track.
- War Is Hell: "Dirty Harry" is set in a desert with Bootie Brown appearing dressed as a soldier. At the time the war in Iraq was a hot topic and it's difficult not to interpret the song being about this, especially seeing the band previously criticized George W. Bush's invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. A direct reference to Bush's televised speech in 2003 in a flight suit after Iraq had been conquered and Saddam Hussein driven away, when the president declared his mission accomplished.The war is over / so said the speaker / with the flight suit on
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: During "Dirty Harry" and "Feel Good Inc."
- Young Gun: "Kids with Guns" about the danger of young people walking around with guns.