Gorillaz unveiled their first song in six years, “Hallelujah Money,” the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration, enlisting British artist Benjamin Clementine for an eerily soulful meditation on business, power and humanity.
The clip finds Clementine crooning the slow-burning theatrical tune in front of a screen broadcasting an eclectic montage of clips, including innocent cartoons, kabuki dancers and killer clowns. Halfway through, “Hallelujah Money” thins as Clementine delivers a spoken-word breakdown over a sparse beat and Damon Albarn‘s mechanized voice filters out of the background.
While the song does rebuild, its euphoric choral climax turns out to be a false ending as “Hallelujah Money” actually closes with jarring distortion and – perhaps fittingly for the world’s most famous cartoon band – a clip of SpongeBob SquarePants freaking out.
Gorillaz – the project of Albarn and illustrator Jamie Hewlett – are at work on their first album since 2011’s The Fall. The group is expected to release the record later this year, though “Hallelujah Money” is not its first single.
In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Albarn noted he was working on a new Gorillaz record, saying, “So far, it’s really fast, and it’s got quite a lot of energy. I’ve been stuck on piano, somewhere off Broadway, for years now. I want to go somewhere completely opposite of that.”