Gorillaz: “The Pink Phantom” (feat. Elton John and 6LACK)

Starting in January of 2020, Gorillaz began releasing a series of singles under the project name
Song Machine, with each new track being it’s own “episode”. The series has been particularly
well received due to each single featuring a different artist, making for an eclectic collection of
collaborations that are quickly becoming fan favorites.

The latest episode, released on October 1st, features a song titled The Pink Phantom, and
features music legend Elton John, as well as rapper 6LACK. When this track was announced, I
was thrilled at the idea of an Elton John and Gorillaz collaboration, and interested to see how
6LACK would fit into the track. Each of these 3 artists has a very different style, so I was curious
to see how their individual styles would work together.

I expected the song to be a slower, mellow ballad, which is exactly what it is. It begins with
Damon Albarn (who voices the Gorillaz fictional lead singer 2D), followed by a 6LACK verse.
6LACK isn’t rapping on this track, instead he sings (with heavy autotune, which I feel doesn’t fit
into the track) his verse.

The transition into Elton John’s chorus, with an instrumental swell, intensifies the mood of the
song, as Elton sings of the sky being made of diamonds. His iconic voice brings a lot to this
track, and his musical style combined with the instrumental style of Damon Albarn/Gorillaz
creates a really unique sound.

Later on, Damon Albarn and Elton John end up singing a melody together, and their voices
blend together wonderfully. 6LACK comes back in for a sort of call and response section with
Elton John, which again, feels a bit out of place. Although I am a fan of 6LACK and his work, I’m
not sure if he was right for this track. It seems like Damon and Elton carried most of the melody
and chorus, while 6LACK offered a snippet of a verse here and there.

Overall, I really enjoyed this track. I have been a Gorillaz fan for several years now, and their
frequent collaborations are always very exciting, as they collaborate with a wide range of artists.
I think I would have preferred for 6LACK to have his own track with Gorillaz, and have more of a
chance to show off his own abilities instead of being seemingly overshadowed by Elton John. I
think Damon Albarn and Elton John’s musical styles work really well together, and the song was
overall a success.

About Brigid Young

Brigid is a junior in Music Technology who spends way too much time on Soundcloud. She is passionate about non-mainstream pop music, specifically hyperpop, but loves all genres.

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