Damon Albarn is the guest on a new episode of Song Exploder, a podcast hosted by Hrishikesh Hirway in which artists dissect their songs from inception to completion. The subject this week is “Andromeda,” a song featuring D.R.A.M.from the upcoming Gorillaz album Humanz.
The title “Andromeda” is inspired by the name of a club Albarn went to as a teenager on Friday nights to hear soul music, and Albarn’s recently deceased mother-in-law Ethel, who was interested in astronomy. The song is dedicated to Ethel, and was written during her illness. During the process, Albarn began to reminisce on “all these beautiful people I’d known who passed away,” including Bobby Womack, who collaborated with Albarn on the 2010 Gorillaz album Plastic Beach.
The song’s musical direction was originally conceived as a collision of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and “I Can’t Go for That” by Hall & Oates, “two of the ’80s’ greatest pop songs,” according to Albarn. The song’s final version features Albarn on lead vocals, but Gorillaz also tried different versions with artists like Christine & The Queens and D.R.A.M., who appears briefly to discuss his collaboration with the band.
Humanz, which Albarn describes as a “party record” about “imagining something in the near future which happened in America that really turned everything up on its head,” is out April 28.