A narrow corridor and a darkly clad, ominous figure swaying in a gold Trump-esque elevator follows the disturbing white noise which begins the first taste of Gorillaz music for six years. ‘Hallelujah Money’ was released the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, marking, as Gorillaz indicate, the beginning of the end.
Benjamin Clementine’s old-fashioned croon offers an eerily soulful meditation on money, power, and humanity.
An enlarged Big Brother style eye is the first of many appropriately random backdrops in the video released alongside the single. It unnervingly blinks behind the figure of Clementine as he begins.
The tune enters its chorus as Clementine drops his enduring stare with the first “Hallelujah/ Hallelujah money”. Next the vision turns to nightmare: Clementine’s oblique figure is dominated by a man’s screaming pale face, with his eyes ritualistically rolling back in his head.
Damon Albarn’s robotic emotion-purged voice filters out the background, his words questioning all that keeps us tethered to who we are: “How will we know?/ How will we dream?/ How will we love?” as if through a megaphone during an especially dark rally. The emphasis is on knowledge, which in this post-truth world seems to have been lost. Gorillaz search for it with the same intensity as the huge blinking eye which returns again and again.
Apparently reading from the Bible, Clementine then resumes his piercing stare and almost clinically assures “What the whole world, and whole beasts of nations desire: power” as three geishas all in white wave goodbye and proceed off the screen. Here, the synthetic beat becomes especially repetitive, seemingly leading to an exultant climax.
Instead, the video ends with Clementine stroking the Bible as the track disintegrates to a jarring conclusion of sound and image. He is suddenly replaced with a brief, all the more disturbing clip of SpongeBob SquarePants running away in shrill horror.
This is what the future holds according to Damon Albarn and co. If we heed the warning, as it is difficult not to, we should all be afraid. Very afraid.