Gorillaz - Song Machine

Discussion about the band and related projects.

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Styopa
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by Styopa » 19 Feb 2021, 09:55

Yes I would agree, when we say this Blur album is better than that Gorillaz album, or this Graham album is better than that Damon album, usually what we are really saying is I prefer it. Statements like "fact" or "beyond question" are not really helpful because all they seem to do is rile people up. Also they contain no substance; it would be better for that person to describe why they believe album X is better than Y. Just asserting it is a fact does not make it so.

Having said that, I also think people get a little bit too sensitive about these things. if someone say it's a fact that such or such an album is better than another, what difference does it make? It's just a belief, and a rather harmless one at that. I think people overreact and tend to throw out the baby with the bath water by going down the whole subjective road. It's much better to point out where one thinks the other person is mistaken in their belief that X is objectively better than Y than making the rather platitudinous claim that everything is a matter of personal taste - which is as much of a dead end as the person claiming their view is fact.

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Mallard No. 22
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by Mallard No. 22 » 24 Feb 2021, 20:50

Yes I agree, very good points Styopa.
"Everybody's Doing It...So Do It Too...."

John_d
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by John_d » 27 Feb 2021, 00:26

The Magic Whip is maybe the 3rd or 4th best Blur album, with no identifiable or lasting major hit single, supported by a handful of medium sized gigs.

Demon Days and Plastic Beach both sold a heap of records, contained multiple hits, and led to mammoth world tours of arenas and festival headline sets.

Objectively, of Damon's post 2000ish output, which of Blur or Gorillaz is likely to be considered a major cultural work...?

dougharrison
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by dougharrison » 27 Feb 2021, 15:03

John_d wrote:
27 Feb 2021, 00:26
The Magic Whip is maybe the 3rd or 4th best Blur album, with no identifiable or lasting major hit single, supported by a handful of medium sized gigs.

Demon Days and Plastic Beach both sold a heap of records, contained multiple hits, and led to mammoth world tours of arenas and festival headline sets.

Objectively, of Damon's post 2000ish output, which of Blur or Gorillaz is likely to be considered a major cultural work...?
I find the y2k cut off a bit arbitrary personally and given that we are somewhat randomly ignoring that TNN, SM and Humans probably aren't in the top 3 Gorillaz albums and also have no lasting major hit single a bit of a skewed argument, especially given that TMW chronologically sits in with this group of albums, whereas DD and PB are closer to 13 and TT in terms of release dates. It's a very unusual perspective to say that TMW was only supported by medium sized gigs mind. Hyde Park, MSG and Coachella are pretty huge unless there's a context I'm missing here?

For my money Plastic Beach and Demon Days are both better than TMW and TT and both Gorillaz albums are more of a cultural landmark than TMW, TT or 13.

Fundamentally, I don't really understand the need to compare and contrast. It's pretty evident that Damon has all his eggs in the Gorillaz basket and that's his personal and professional prerogative.

jeffnottingham
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by jeffnottingham » 27 Feb 2021, 22:15

Talking of post PB albums, I really think The Now Now is incredibly underrated as simply an Albarn album whether you want to call it Gorillaz or whatever. (Remove Hollywood which for me a s bit of a mis-step, replace it with Tickertape :) and it's a beautiful, heartfelt Albarn solo album. Humility, Tranz, Souk Eye, Fireflies, Magic City, Idaho... these are songs I never never skip.

I don't know the figures, but didn't Humilty do pretty well as a single? That and Tranz really should have dominated the airwaves that year IMO.

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stephen
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by stephen » 01 Mar 2021, 11:13

John_d wrote:
27 Feb 2021, 00:26
The Magic Whip is maybe the 3rd or 4th best Blur album, with no identifiable or lasting major hit single, supported by a handful of medium sized gigs.

Demon Days and Plastic Beach both sold a heap of records, contained multiple hits, and led to mammoth world tours of arenas and festival headline sets.

Objectively, of Damon's post 2000ish output, which of Blur or Gorillaz is likely to be considered a major cultural work...?
In your opinion... :roll:

God this is getting boring. You're gauging how good a song is by its success, Styopa has explained this very well and get it is still fact to you.

If you stuck pyongyang on demon days would that make it a better song for you because more people listened to it??

Styopa
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by Styopa » 01 Mar 2021, 12:02

dougharrison wrote:
27 Feb 2021, 15:03
John_d wrote:
27 Feb 2021, 00:26
The Magic Whip is maybe the 3rd or 4th best Blur album, with no identifiable or lasting major hit single, supported by a handful of medium sized gigs.

Demon Days and Plastic Beach both sold a heap of records, contained multiple hits, and led to mammoth world tours of arenas and festival headline sets.

Objectively, of Damon's post 2000ish output, which of Blur or Gorillaz is likely to be considered a major cultural work...?
I find the y2k cut off a bit arbitrary personally and given that we are somewhat randomly ignoring that TNN, SM and Humans probably aren't in the top 3 Gorillaz albums and also have no lasting major hit single a bit of a skewed argument, especially given that TMW chronologically sits in with this group of albums, whereas DD and PB are closer to 13 and TT in terms of release dates. It's a very unusual perspective to say that TMW was only supported by medium sized gigs mind. Hyde Park, MSG and Coachella are pretty huge unless there's a context I'm missing here?

For my money Plastic Beach and Demon Days are both better than TMW and TT and both Gorillaz albums are more of a cultural landmark than TMW, TT or 13.

Fundamentally, I don't really understand the need to compare and contrast. It's pretty evident that Damon has all his eggs in the Gorillaz basket and that's his personal and professional prerogative.
I would certainly say the first two Gorillaz albums were huge cultural landmarks. They were almost like Parklife in a sense, albeit on a much bigger global scale- they were zeitgesity. Plastic Beach maybe not so much, even if it did still sell a lot. PB is actually my favourite of the 3 but it probably marked the end (relatively speaking) of Gorillaz as this all encompassing cultural point of reference. I remember hearing Stylo at a (now) ex girlfriend's office for the first time and although not a bad song it struck me as a rather underwhelming lead single from a group who had produced some really massive pop tunes in their preceding releases.

13 is an interesting one. Tender and Coffee & TV are probably as well known as any Gorillaz singles from PB onwards. In fact I would say they are almost certainly better known than any post PB singles, at least here in the UK. They are part of the Blur cannon, the classic period when Blur were still an ongoing part of the music mainstream. TT and TMW obviously fall outside that period. TNN, SM and Humanz likewise fall outside of the classic Gorillaz period albeit they no doubt have a bigger audience than the TMW because Gorillaz have a bigger audience then Blur. Personally I prefer TMW to those later Gorillaz albums.

dougharrison
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by dougharrison » 01 Mar 2021, 16:00

Styopa wrote:
01 Mar 2021, 12:02

I would certainly say the first two Gorillaz albums were huge cultural landmarks. They were almost like Parklife in a sense, albeit on a much bigger global scale- they were zeitgesity. Plastic Beach maybe not so much, even if it did still sell a lot. PB is actually my favourite of the 3 but it probably marked the end (relatively speaking) of Gorillaz as this all encompassing cultural point of reference. I remember hearing Stylo at a (now) ex girlfriend's office for the first time and although not a bad song it struck me as a rather underwhelming lead single from a group who had produced some really massive pop tunes in their preceding releases.

13 is an interesting one. Tender and Coffee & TV are probably as well known as any Gorillaz singles from PB onwards. In fact I would say they are almost certainly better known than any post PB singles, at least here in the UK. They are part of the Blur cannon, the classic period when Blur were still an ongoing part of the music mainstream. TT and TMW obviously fall outside that period. TNN, SM and Humanz likewise fall outside of the classic Gorillaz period albeit they no doubt have a bigger audience than the TMW because Gorillaz have a bigger audience then Blur. Personally I prefer TMW to those later Gorillaz albums.
I think I agree with you on almost every word.

The only thing I would add is that although Tender and C&TV are well known songs, I don't think 13 comes close to matching the reach that those singles had (and still have) which to some extent is true of most albums/singles, but to use a very UK reference, on Pointless I think 13 would get a far lower score than The Great Escape, Parklife or Blur (although admittedly some might be guessing and getting the last one!)

Styopa
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by Styopa » 02 Mar 2021, 11:22

dougharrison wrote:
01 Mar 2021, 16:00
Styopa wrote:
01 Mar 2021, 12:02

I would certainly say the first two Gorillaz albums were huge cultural landmarks. They were almost like Parklife in a sense, albeit on a much bigger global scale- they were zeitgesity. Plastic Beach maybe not so much, even if it did still sell a lot. PB is actually my favourite of the 3 but it probably marked the end (relatively speaking) of Gorillaz as this all encompassing cultural point of reference. I remember hearing Stylo at a (now) ex girlfriend's office for the first time and although not a bad song it struck me as a rather underwhelming lead single from a group who had produced some really massive pop tunes in their preceding releases.

13 is an interesting one. Tender and Coffee & TV are probably as well known as any Gorillaz singles from PB onwards. In fact I would say they are almost certainly better known than any post PB singles, at least here in the UK. They are part of the Blur cannon, the classic period when Blur were still an ongoing part of the music mainstream. TT and TMW obviously fall outside that period. TNN, SM and Humanz likewise fall outside of the classic Gorillaz period albeit they no doubt have a bigger audience than the TMW because Gorillaz have a bigger audience then Blur. Personally I prefer TMW to those later Gorillaz albums.
I think I agree with you on almost every word.

The only thing I would add is that although Tender and C&TV are well known songs, I don't think 13 comes close to matching the reach that those singles had (and still have) which to some extent is true of most albums/singles, but to use a very UK reference, on Pointless I think 13 would get a far lower score than The Great Escape, Parklife or Blur (although admittedly some might be guessing and getting the last one!)
Yes I'm sure you're right. Actually I've always had the feeling that Tender and C&TV sound like outliers on 13, a bit at odds with the sound of the rest of the album. It's not like their presence on the album is jarring to me, it's just like and here we have the singles and here we have the rest of the album. I don't think that so obvious with No Distance Left to Run.

John_d
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by John_d » 02 Mar 2021, 20:58

Styopa wrote:
02 Mar 2021, 11:22
dougharrison wrote:
01 Mar 2021, 16:00
Styopa wrote:
01 Mar 2021, 12:02

I would certainly say the first two Gorillaz albums were huge cultural landmarks. They were almost like Parklife in a sense, albeit on a much bigger global scale- they were zeitgesity. Plastic Beach maybe not so much, even if it did still sell a lot. PB is actually my favourite of the 3 but it probably marked the end (relatively speaking) of Gorillaz as this all encompassing cultural point of reference. I remember hearing Stylo at a (now) ex girlfriend's office for the first time and although not a bad song it struck me as a rather underwhelming lead single from a group who had produced some really massive pop tunes in their preceding releases.

13 is an interesting one. Tender and Coffee & TV are probably as well known as any Gorillaz singles from PB onwards. In fact I would say they are almost certainly better known than any post PB singles, at least here in the UK. They are part of the Blur cannon, the classic period when Blur were still an ongoing part of the music mainstream. TT and TMW obviously fall outside that period. TNN, SM and Humanz likewise fall outside of the classic Gorillaz period albeit they no doubt have a bigger audience than the TMW because Gorillaz have a bigger audience then Blur. Personally I prefer TMW to those later Gorillaz albums.
I think I agree with you on almost every word.

The only thing I would add is that although Tender and C&TV are well known songs, I don't think 13 comes close to matching the reach that those singles had (and still have) which to some extent is true of most albums/singles, but to use a very UK reference, on Pointless I think 13 would get a far lower score than The Great Escape, Parklife or Blur (although admittedly some might be guessing and getting the last one!)
Yes I'm sure you're right. Actually I've always had the feeling that Tender and C&TV sound like outliers on 13, a bit at odds with the sound of the rest of the album. It's not like their presence on the album is jarring to me, it's just like and here we have the singles and here we have the rest of the album. I don't think that so obvious with No Distance Left to Run.
I can't find the data for Tender, apart from that it was in the top 10 for 4 weeks, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was amongst the biggest selling UK singles of 1999. It hung around the Top 40 for months. The band seemed to have to be persuaded to make Coffee & TV the seocnd single. Ant and Dec (for anyone outside UK - big TV stars in UK) were literally recommending it should be the next single on Saturday morning kids TV. The EMI strategy at this time seemed to be 3 singles (not 2 or 4) and NDLTR was probably picked as there was nothing else quite fitting a singles bill on 13 (nothing else coudl be played on daytime radio).

Moving closer to the current day, I remember being underwhelmed by Stylo. I still think it's very tasteful, but it's not a hit. It would have been interesting if Barry Gibb (who pulled out last minute) would have provided the something-missing. And yes Humility seems almost bizarrely popular - 90m views on YouTube. It just seems kind of bland to me. That's possibly why it has done so well! Terrific video mind you, tbf to Jamie.

idreamofpikas
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by idreamofpikas » 03 Mar 2021, 08:55

John_d wrote:
02 Mar 2021, 20:58

I can't find the data for Tender, apart from that it was in the top 10 for 4 weeks, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was amongst the biggest selling UK singles of 1999. It hung around the Top 40 for months.
Tender was huge. It just had the bad misfortune to be released the same week as Britney's debut, Oop's I Did It Again. 2nd best selling Blur single and 11th best-selling Britpop associated song. https://www.officialcharts.com/chart-ne ... gs__30860/

Had Blur toured 13 like they toured the self-titled album Tender and Coffee and TV would have been much bigger hits in the US.


John_d wrote:
02 Mar 2021, 20:58
Moving closer to the current day, I remember being underwhelmed by Stylo. I still think it's very tasteful, but it's not a hit. It would have been interesting if Barry Gibb (who pulled out last minute) would have provided the something-missing.
Obviously your opinion is valid, but personally I thought and still think Stylo is the stand out song on an exceptional album. It was the obvious choice for the first release due to the other three strongest songs (Melancholy Hill, Empire Ants and Rhinestone Eyes) lacking the same vibe as Clint Eastwood and FeelGood Inc.

From my recollection Stylo's failings was less about the quality of the song but the incredibly poor decision-making from either Damon and Jamie or Parlophone (my feeling it was more down to the cash strapped, but it may have been the band itself).

1) Stylo was the first Gorillaz song that was digital only. The previous singles had been boosted by physical releases, with b-sides and artwork, as well as the collector market. Given Damon's following and Jamie being an artist, dropping the physical side just seemed a cost-cutting exercise which backfired. A year later Parlophone would not make the same mistake with Coldplay's release.

2) There was no incentive to actually buy the single as you could buy the album and have the single and video on your itunes account immediately. This hindered its chances of getting in the top singles charts which has a huge effect on a marketing push outside of hardcore fans.

3) On a separate note releasing the album on Mother's Day week was a colossal mistake that was easily prevented. How does the marketing team overlook this?

The entire Plastic Beach era was just awful marketing from a cash strapped label who don't seem to have had faith in the product. However the album, overtime, has been viewed very favourably by both critics and listeners. On Spotify it has the streaming equivalent of 712k albums sold while on Itunes and Apple it performs as well as Demon Days on most days, with the self-titled album in a distant 3rd.

Stylo has managed over 100 million on Youtube. To put this into perspective, the Foo Fighters have 5 songs with 100 million or more streams, Muse 4, Daft Punk 5 and Oasis 4. Considering it made zero impact in the singles market, it's longevity and success on both Youtube and, to a lesser extent Spotify, is pretty impressive.




John_d wrote:
02 Mar 2021, 20:58
And yes Humility seems almost bizarrely popular - 90m views on YouTube. It just seems kind of bland to me. That's possibly why it has done so well! Terrific video mind you, tbf to Jamie.
Interestingly, since 2020, Stylo has done 100k more streams than Humility. 18.5 vs 18.6 million. Both very good figures for both songs considering their age. Again to put this into perspective, Song Machine's best performing single, released in February, has only done 16.7 million. (Sorry to over use the 'perspective points' but some times it is hard to assess how a song has performed in the streaming age without directly comparing it to others).

jeffnottingham
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by jeffnottingham » 03 Mar 2021, 11:02

idreamofpikas wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 08:55
Tender was huge. It just had the bad misfortune to be released the same week as Britney's debut, Oop's I Did It Again.
I hate myself for this pedantry, but it was 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' :mrgreen:

Styopa
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by Styopa » 03 Mar 2021, 15:57

idreamofpikas wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 08:55

Obviously your opinion is valid, but personally I thought and still think Stylo is the stand out song on an exceptional album. It was the obvious choice for the first release due to the other three strongest songs (Melancholy Hill, Empire Ants and Rhinestone Eyes) lacking the same vibe as Clint Eastwood and FeelGood Inc.

From my recollection Stylo's failings was less about the quality of the song but the incredibly poor decision-making from either Damon and Jamie or Parlophone (my feeling it was more down to the cash strapped, but it may have been the band itself).

1) Stylo was the first Gorillaz song that was digital only. The previous singles had been boosted by physical releases, with b-sides and artwork, as well as the collector market. Given Damon's following and Jamie being an artist, dropping the physical side just seemed a cost-cutting exercise which backfired. A year later Parlophone would not make the same mistake with Coldplay's release.

2) There was no incentive to actually buy the single as you could buy the album and have the single and video on your itunes account immediately. This hindered its chances of getting in the top singles charts which has a huge effect on a marketing push outside of hardcore fans.

3) On a separate note releasing the album on Mother's Day week was a colossal mistake that was easily prevented. How does the marketing team overlook this?

The entire Plastic Beach era was just awful marketing from a cash strapped label who don't seem to have had faith in the product. However the album, overtime, has been viewed very favourably by both critics and listeners. On Spotify it has the streaming equivalent of 712k albums sold while on Itunes and Apple it performs as well as Demon Days on most days, with the self-titled album in a distant 3rd.

Stylo has managed over 100 million on Youtube. To put this into perspective, the Foo Fighters have 5 songs with 100 million or more streams, Muse 4, Daft Punk 5 and Oasis 4. Considering it made zero impact in the singles market, it's longevity and success on both Youtube and, to a lesser extent Spotify, is pretty impressive.


Interestingly, since 2020, Stylo has done 100k more streams than Humility. 18.5 vs 18.6 million. Both very good figures for both songs considering their age. Again to put this into perspective, Song Machine's best performing single, released in February, has only done 16.7 million. (Sorry to over use the 'perspective points' but some times it is hard to assess how a song has performed in the streaming age without directly comparing it to others).
I don't have a problem with Stylo but it doesn't really sound like a hit to me, irrespective of how well or not it was marketed. I'd no way place it in the same league as mega hits Clint Eastwood and Feel Good Inc which to my ears have ultra-wide appeal. Anecdotally Clint Eastwood appealed to someone like my dad which Stylo would have never have done, no matter it how much it was played. I was a bit surprised to read Stylo has had as many views as mentioned but it makes sense when one considers the huge amounts of views most Gorillaz singles receive, especially as it was the lead single from a hotly anticipated follow up album from a band who had sold over 20 million copies of their first two albums. The fact it was a lead single may even still count for something in hindsight:

Feel Good Inc 476 million.
Clint Eastwood has 436 million
Dare 197 million.
On Melancholy Hill 176 million
Dirty Harry 119.5 million
Stylo 115 million
19-2000 99 million
Tomorrow Comes Today 79 million
Rock the House 52 million
Kids with Guns 24 million

To reiterate I don't think it's a bad song and at those amount of views you can hardly call it a flop. I also entirely agree with you about PB being an exceptional album. But it still marks a step down from the previous lead singles and I don't think it's all due to marketing - it's just not the scale of hit tune which has the everyman humming it on the street as Clint Eastwood and Feel Good Inc were, I think.

idreamofpikas
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by idreamofpikas » 03 Mar 2021, 16:31

Styopa wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 15:57


I don't have a problem with Stylo but it doesn't really sound like a hit to me, irrespective of how well or not it was marketed. I'd no way place it in the same league as mega hits Clint Eastwood and Feel Good Inc which to my ears have ultra-wide appeal.

To be clear, I did not claim with marketing it would have done Clint Eastwood or FeelGoodInc numbers. Both of those songs are amongst the 100 most popular songs of their decade.

I simply said that marketing was what hindered Stylo, Melancholy Hill and Plastic Beach on their release. That all three would have been bigger. Not FGI or CE bigger, but much more successful than what they were.

It should be remembered that Doncamatic, the only song to actually make the top 40 form that era, did have a physical release. Now it may be that song was simply better than Stylo, Melancholy Hill and Superfast Jellyfish (in fairness it is no worse than SJ), but I think the physical release boosted it and a physical release for Stylo and MH would have likely seen them both been hits in 2010 rather than songs that became retroactive hits.




Styopa wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 15:57
I was a bit surprised to read Stylo has had as many views as mentioned but it makes sense when one considers the huge amounts of views most Gorillaz singles receive, especially as it was the lead single from the album which probably still counts for something even in hindsight.
The lead single does not really have much to do with it as the majority of those youtube views came much, much later.

2010 ~1,020,000
2011 ~6,200,000
2012 ~6,100,000
2013 ~5,900,000
2014 ~8,000,000
2015 ~10,000,000
2016 ~15,300,000
2017 ~27,000,000
2018 ~8,100,000
2019 ~8,600,000
2020 ~15,000,000
2021 ~3,600,000

If it keeps up its current rate, 2021 is set to be Stylo's second most successful year since 2017, the year Humanz was released saw the song get a pretty decent bump.

This is not really the norm for the majority of hits, Stylo's consistency over the years can't simply be down to being a Gorillaz song as the majority of Gorillaz songs don't perform that well.

To reiterate, a song does not have to be as successful as Clint Eastwood or Feel Good Inc to be a hit.

Styopa
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Re: Gorillaz - Song Machine

Post by Styopa » 04 Mar 2021, 12:28

idreamofpikas wrote:
03 Mar 2021, 16:31

To be clear, I did not claim with marketing it would have done Clint Eastwood or FeelGoodInc numbers. Both of those songs are amongst the 100 most popular songs of their decade.

I simply said that marketing was what hindered Stylo, Melancholy Hill and Plastic Beach on their release. That all three would have been bigger. Not FGI or CE bigger, but much more successful than what they were.

It should be remembered that Doncamatic, the only song to actually make the top 40 form that era, did have a physical release. Now it may be that song was simply better than Stylo, Melancholy Hill and Superfast Jellyfish (in fairness it is no worse than SJ), but I think the physical release boosted it and a physical release for Stylo and MH would have likely seen them both been hits in 2010 rather than songs that became retroactive hits.

If it keeps up its current rate, 2021 is set to be Stylo's second most successful year since 2017, the year Humanz was released saw the song get a pretty decent bump.

This is not really the norm for the majority of hits, Stylo's consistency over the years can't simply be down to being a Gorillaz song as the majority of Gorillaz songs don't perform that well.

To reiterate, a song does not have to be as successful as Clint Eastwood or Feel Good Inc to be a hit.
That's fair enough. Maybe I am underrating the appeal of Stylo slightly based on my own subjective experience of it. I just don't hear it for some reason. It always struck me as a decent song but not really a great single. On Melancholy Hill sounds like the stand-out single to me from Plastic Beach but I understand why they might not have wanted to lead with it.

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