The song's titular "new gold" symbolizes the superficial things that are taking over our lives as the world goes to pot. Technological advancements have bought us so much choice, but embellishments like plastic surgery, easy travel, and the abuse of palliatives leave us feeling empty.
Gorillaz and guests Kevin Parker and Bootie Brown are particularly scathing about the world of social media where we value influencers, viral posts on Instagram and trending tweets. Ultimately, they're all meaningless and end up being fool's gold.
Kevin Parker of the Australian psychedelic music project Tame Impala sings the verses, and Bootie Brown of the Los Angeles alternative hip-hop group The Pharcyde raps two verses. It's Gorillaz' first collaboration with Tame Impala, but Brown previously featured on their 2005 single "Dirty Harry
Kevin Parker and Gorillaz mainman Damon Albarn had the initial idea for the song. After making some headway, Albarn gave up on it until someone encouraged him to keep working on the tune. So when Albarn met up with Brown in Mexico in late spring 2022, he asked him to contribute. The rapper took on the mantle and came up with two verses.
It took Brown some time to find his mojo. "The first day in the studio. I was like, 'Oh my god, I'm failing,' and then the next day, I sat in my room because I had a mic and stuff in the room and I just like just gotta keep going," he recalled to BBC Radio 1's Clara Amfo, "I gotta keep trying. So came back the next day. It just started clicking and then we were just in there and things started going."
Damon Albarn and Kevin Parker co-produced "New Gold" with Greg Kurstin. The American producer also collaborated with Gorillaz on "Cracker Island
Albarn, Parker and Kurstin played all the instruments between them. The credits are:
Kevin Parker: percussion, drums, bass, Wuriltzer and synthesizer
Greg Kurstin: percussion, bass and keyboards
Damon Albarn: synthesizer.
Gorillaz debuted "New Gold" live in tandem with Brown and Parker on August 19, 2022 at London's All Points East festival. "It's kind of a mad song, to be honest with you," Albarn told the crowd. They released it as the second single from Cracker Island on August 31, 2022.