A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's nothing to worry about here. The lyrics really don't make much sense, so even if there was a negative message, most listeners would be hard pressed to understand it. What parents do need to take notice of is the success of this virtual band. Their endurance and popularity may usher in a new trend of virtual bands that push the envelope with creators hiding behind fictional characters who don't have to answer to the consequences of reality.
What's the story?
Old-school soul singer Bobby Womack and rapper Mos Def might seem like an odd collaboration, but when you realize that Gorillaz is behind "STYLO," the duet isn't as surprising. That's because the virtual band Gorillaz has been mashing unlikely artists together for over a decade now. In fact, their experimental cast of fictional band members and hard-to-categorize electronic music is now a well-known and established franchise that has proven itself with multiple successful albums. With this initial single off of their 2010 album, Gorillaz incorporate funk, hip-hop, and rap elements into a song about energy, emotions, and, of course, eccentricities.
Is it any good?
"Push up, overload, legendary, heavy glow, sunshine, thunder roll." What? To know whether this single is indeed any good, it would help to know what the heck the lyrics are actually referring to. Aside from the head-scratching message, the eerily smooth hooks combine with impassioned verses, a repetitive techno background chorus, and a steady beat to make their own statement, regardless of the spoken words. It's an ultra-modern retro contradiction, and it's a whole lotta fun to listen to!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about digital downloads and the reduction in CD singles. Do you think this is a good trend? Why? Is it a beneficial change for the environment? Does purchasing a song online make you spend more money on music than if you had to go to the store to purchase a physical CD? Is it more difficult to keep track of online purchases?
Talk about virtual bands. What do you think about music from a group of fictional characters? Who are the real people behind this music? Do you think using fictional characters can make it easier for the real musicians to misbehave or create inappropriate content?
Talk about appropriate lyrics. How can you determine whether content is appropriate for your age group? Parents, if you don't understand some lyrics, does that mean there could be iffy content buried in slang references? Can a band put out a mix of safe and questionable content? Does this make it harder to determine what's okay for kids?