The song opens with Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn lacing his low voice over a thick beat that recalls the heyday of the G-funk era. The instrumentals get an added punch-up when Schoolboy Q first takes over, although the beat switches subtly again as the rapper glides over its woozy outro.
“Pac-Man” was recorded in London prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with Gorillaz assisted by producers Prince Paul and Remi Kabaka Jr.
“Pac-Man” marks Gorillaz’s fifth Song Machine track, following “Momentary Bliss,” with Slowthai and Slaves; “Désolé,” with Fatoumata Diawar; “Aries,” with Peter Hook and Georgia; and “Friday 13th,” with Octavian. The band also paid tribute to drummer and frequent Albarn collaborator Tony Allen on “How Far?“
Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett will also publish the band’s first-ever Gorillaz Almanac in October to look back at their visual history, as Gorillaz celebrate their 20th anniversary.
“Twenty years of drawing the same characters, you can’t avoid change; I think I tried to draw more realism into them around the fourth album. Now I find myself looking back at the original style, which reminds me of Seventies Hanna-Barbera cartoons that I grew up on,” Hewlett told Rolling Stone in May. “Ultimately, I would love to create an animation style as good as Chuck Jones’ style during the late Seventies. Also, I can afford to buy better pens now.”