Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
Buy On
  1. Jul 5, 2018
    82
    The Now Now feels shockingly complete.
  2. Jun 29, 2018
    80
    A record that’s more reflective and human than you’d ever expect from a band of literal cartoons.
  3. Jun 29, 2018
    80
    A Gorillaz album that, for once, acts not as loudspeaker for the cacophony of modern life, but a salve instead.
  4. Jun 29, 2018
    80
    All in all, The Now Now feels fresh and present. Gorillaz have performed a type of sonic reset by stripping back their cast of collaborators, yet it exemplifies the strength of the songwriting at the group's core.
  5. Jun 27, 2018
    80
    For this album, Mr. Albarn stays decisively in the foreground. His main collaborator here is the producer James Ford, from Simian Mobile Disco, and together they surround Mr. Albarn’s voice with subliminally nostalgic synthesizers: puffy, rounded, unaggressive tones that provide a cozy backdrop for Mr. Albarn’s morose reveries. ... In the mysterious chemistry of songwriting, the partnership with Mr. Hewlett’s visuals has been a reliable catalyst. Behind the cartoon mask, there’s freedom.
  6. Jun 27, 2018
    80
    Formally, it echoes the 2010 fan club giveaway The Fall: radically shortened guest list, written-on-the-road simplicity, songs named for locales (in this case red, blue and otherwise--"Kansas,” "Idaho,” "Magic City,” etc.) The songs are better, though, and they don't waste too much time on regionalism.
  7. Jun 27, 2018
    80
    If Humanz was a reaction about a world that seemed to be heading to hell, then The Now Now is a more spaced-out affair, stripped of its star-studded collaborations and bathed in the apparent apathy of the modern age.
  8. 80
    20 years after the outlines of the band was first sketched by co-creator Jamie Hewlett, the band clearly still stands as a vivid creative outlet for Albarn. He’s managed to tap into the chaotic ethos so electrifying and unpredictable first time round, and reanimate the band’s fortunes in dazzling fashion.
  9. 80
    It’s no Plastic Beach, but, by ditching the often hackneyed attempts to stay relevant that verged on self-parody and digging into their identity and other existential fears, Gorillaz have demonstrated that they still have the power to feel vital.
  10. Jun 27, 2018
    80
    Far from the carnival of featured guests that was 2017’s 26-track Humanz, though, The Now Now, at 11 tracks and with only three comparatively unobtrusive features (Snoop Dogg and Jamie Principle appear on Hollywood) is tighter conceptually but looser as a listening experience.
  11. Q Magazine
    Jun 25, 2018
    80
    It's that juxtaposition between sunshiny pop and yearning lyrics that defines much of The Now Now. ... This latest chapter in the Gorillaz story sounds like a deeply confessional one. [Summer 2018, p.108]
  12. Jun 29, 2018
    78
    The lines are often not so clearly drawn, and there are shades of 13, the 1999 post breakup album that Albarn made with his band Blur throughout, but the dark, foreboding clouds that hover over everything here will feel familiar to anyone who has picked up a newspaper or opened their Twitter accounts at any point in the last 18 months or so.
  13. Jun 29, 2018
    75
    Overall, The Now Now would work better if it fully embraced its melancholy.
  14. Jul 3, 2018
    70
    Gorillaz' music is frequently very sad, but while Plastic Beach looked wistfully on a dying world and songs like "El Mañana" live in fantasy, The Now Now rises from a more personal place of ennui.
  15. Jun 29, 2018
    70
    Perhaps this doesn't make for a listen that's as wild or adventurous as its companion, but it's ultimately more satisfying, as the internal journey mirrors the evolution of the pop landscape in the 21st century. What was once a rowdy, colorful party is now a soundtrack for bittersweet solitude.
  16. Jun 26, 2018
    70
    The album flows well, with a funky instrumental interlude picking up the pace nicely around the middle and its relatively short run time making it a light and breezy experience.
  17. Jun 25, 2018
    70
    That the ‘World’s Most Successful Virtual Band’ sounds like something you’ve probably seen on the YouTube sidebar is apt. Otherwise, it seems to be business as usual on another jubilant and solidly varied Gorillaz album.
  18. Uncut
    Jun 25, 2018
    70
    It feels like Albarn in transit, both physically and mentally. [Aug 2018, p.27]
  19. Jun 29, 2018
    68
    It might be too humble for its own good, but The Now Now is the rare commercial sojourn that feels like a product of real fascination.
  20. Jul 16, 2018
    65
    Even if The Now Now comes across as a solo effort from Albarn, it is still a far improvement on the bloated and playlist-y nature of Humanz which masked everything that is interesting about Gorillaz in its Jumbotron collaborators. Albarn is at his most interesting when he is in the spotlight.
  21. Jul 5, 2018
    60
    How much Gorillaz fans enjoy The Now Now will depend on why they became fans in the first place. Anyone captivated by Hewlett’s world-building will probably feel a little let down, as will those who fell for their eclectic, big-tent approach to pop. That leaves the Damon Albarn diehards.
  22. 60
    When there’s too much Albarn, there are too many songs shooting for the insidious sadness of On Melancholy Hill, and hitting the pleasant, inconsequential mark instead. Yes, Idaho, Lake Zurich and Souk Eye aren’t bad songs, but you’ll miss the bass and big choruses.
  23. Jun 29, 2018
    60
    The Now Now ultimately sounds exactly what it is: music made on the road as an escape from homesickness.
  24. 60
    Unfortunately, outside of those songs [Humility, Hollywood, Tranz, Sorcererz, and Lake Zurich] (which would have made for an excellent EP) The Now Now falls short, the grit and grandiosity of other Gorillaz records is absent.
  25. Jun 26, 2018
    60
    While these songs are often good, they also lack the colour and experimental zeal of Gorillaz’ best work.
  26. Mojo
    Jun 25, 2018
    60
    This is a record that manages to feel both trapped and rootless. [Aug 2018, p.90]
  27. 50
    For now, Gorillaz seem content to oscillate between extremes, a futuristic pop powerhouse that cannot decide what the future looks like.
  28. Jul 2, 2018
    50
    Gleams and glances of Albarn’s potential are almost omnipresent, yet never really come into fruition.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 6 out of 129
  1. Jun 29, 2018
    10
    The feeling when you listen to a new album gorillaz can not be expressed in simple words. The best songs on the album in my opinion areThe feeling when you listen to a new album gorillaz can not be expressed in simple words. The best songs on the album in my opinion are Humility and Fire Flies Full Review »
  2. Jun 29, 2018
    6
    It sounds like a somewhat uninspired, dreamy synth-pop mishmash with Damons lifeless vocals ontop.
    Half of the album is great but inbetween
    It sounds like a somewhat uninspired, dreamy synth-pop mishmash with Damons lifeless vocals ontop.
    Half of the album is great but inbetween you have these, in my opinion, absolutely forgettable tracks like Kansas, Magic City, Tranz, Idaho, and One Percent that I just end up skipping.
    Nontheless, tracks like Sorcererz, Humility, Hollywood, Fire Flies, Lake Zurich and to some extend Souk Eye are certainly worth giving a listen to.
    Overall however this is the weakest Gorillaz album in my collection.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 29, 2018
    10
    The Now Now is a minor achievement for Gorillaz, whose tendencies of going big usually takes away what we've learned to love the most aboutThe Now Now is a minor achievement for Gorillaz, whose tendencies of going big usually takes away what we've learned to love the most about them: Albarn's core, his pure-hearted lyrics and their ability to make a cartoon band more human than we all Full Review »