Gorillaz – “Strange Timez” (Feat. The Cure’s Robert Smith)

Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s long-running and eclectic recording project Gorillaz started this year by teasing a project called Song Machine. Rather than a new album, this turned out to be a series of singles — I mean, “episodes” — featuring the usual array of high-profile collaborators. So far this year they’ve shared tracks featuring slowthai and Slaves, Fatoumata Diawara, Peter Hook and Georgia, Tony Allen and Skepta, Octavian, and Schoolboy Q.

Today Gorillaz are sharing a new song with Robert Smith of the Cure. They’ve also revealed that Song Machine is culminating in an album after all, except they’re not calling it an album. Out next month, Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez features all the aforementioned collabs and many more, although the Tony Allen and Skepta summit “How Far?” has been reserved for the deluxe edition. The standard version of Season One also includes songs with Elton John and 6LACK, Beck, St. Vincent, Kano and Roxani Arias, and Leee John, while the deluxe adds selections with EARTHGANG, Joan As Police Woman, Goldlink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Moonchild Sanelly, and JPEGMAFIA and CHAI. Intriguing!

Robert Smith appears on “Strange Timez,” the new project’s first song and title track of sorts. It’s a foreboding, bass-bombed exercise in tension and release that finds the Cure singer sounding vital and engaged. Hearing his voice together with Albarn’s is a trip — two icons of UK alternative music coming together for the first time. Listen below.

STANDARD TRACKLIST:
01 “Strange Timez” (Feat. Robert Smith)
02 “The Valley of The Pagans (Feat. Beck)
03 “The Lost Chord (Feat. Leee John)
04 “Pac-Man (Feat. ScHoolboy Q)
05 “Chalk Tablet Towers (Feat. St Vincent)
06 “The Pink Phantom” (Feat. Elton John & 6LACK)
07 “Aries (Feat. Peter Hook & Georgia)
08 “Friday 13th” (Feat. Octavian)
09 “Dead Butterflies” (Feat. Kano & Roxani Arias)
10 “Désolé (Extended Version)” (Feat. Fatoumata Diawara)
11 “Momentary Bliss” (Feat. slowthai & Slaves)

DELUXE TRACKLIST:
01 “Strange Timez” (Feat. Robert Smith)
02 “The Valley of The Pagans (Feat. Beck)
03 “The Lost Chord (Feat. Leee John)
04 “Pac-Man (Feat. ScHoolboy Q)
05 “Chalk Tablet Towers (Feat. St Vincent)
06 “The Pink Phantom” (Feat. Elton John & 6LACK)
07 “Aries (Feat. Peter Hook & Georgia)
08 “Friday 13th” (Feat. Octavian)
09 “Dead Butterflies” (Feat. Kano & Roxani Arias)
10 “Désolé (Extended Version)” (Feat. Fatoumata Diawara)
11 “Momentary Bliss” (Feat. slowthai & Slaves)
12 “Opium” (Feat. EARTHGANG)
13 “Simplicity” (Feat. Joan As Police Woman)
14 “Severed Head” (Feat. Goldlink & Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
15 “With Love To An Ex” (Feat. Moonchild Sanelly)
16 “MLS” (Feat. JPEGMAFIA & CHAI)
17 “How Far?” (Feat. Tony Allen & Skepta)

Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez is out 10/23. Pre-order it here. Season One comes with a full-color 210-page Almanac. Furthermore, Gorillaz are presenting a two-night performance event called Song Machine Live on Dec. 12 and 13, about which you can learn more here.