Gorillaz – “19-2000” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

At a glance, “19-2000” by Gorillaz navigates the tensions of life’s rapid pace and our attempts to anchor ourselves amidst it. The song captures the essence of holding onto one’s identity and staying true to oneself in a fast-paced world. The recurring “Get the cool shoeshine” acts as a metaphor for society’s relentless chase for superficial gratifications, while the song also subtly comments on consumerism, individuality, and the influence of music in our lives. Ultimately, it’s a call for self-awareness and authenticity.

Ready to understand how “19-2000” crafts this intricate tapestry? Stick around. You’re in for a treat.

“19-2000” Lyrics Meaning

The opening lines, “The world is spinning too fast,” paint the all-too-familiar sensation of our modern life’s dizzying speed. The desire for “lead Nike shoes” suggests a wish to ground oneself, to find something solid to cling to amidst the chaos. And yet, these “lead Nike shoes” carry a tinge of irony. Even in seeking stability, we reach for brand names, highlighting our entrapment in consumerism.

When the song says, “My mama said to slow down / You must make your own shoes,” it’s a nod to individualism. It’s about forging your own path instead of dancing to another’s tune. Here, the reference to “Gorillaz in a happy mood” carries a dual implication. It’s both a playful nod to themselves and a broader statement on how society often prescribes certain music or trends as the ‘right’ ones to follow.

The phrase “Get the cool shoeshine” is multi-layered. On one level, it’s about society’s obsession with appearances and the external. The cool exterior, the trendy items – they all often eclipse deeper meaning or genuine connection.

As we move into the section with the monkey in the jungle, the imagery contrasts with the modern, urban scenes of the song’s earlier lines. This monkey, torn between its instinctual drives and its more profound contemplations, embodies the human conflict of desire versus intellect. We’re often caught, like the monkey, between our immediate wants and our deeper aspirations.

Ending on the note, “It’s the music that we choose,” reinforces the song’s core message. Despite all external influences, pressures, and rapid changes, it’s our choices that define our journey.

The Story Behind “19-2000”

Gorillaz, a virtual band with real-world impact, has always been known to challenge norms. “19-2000” is no exception. At the time of its release, the early 2000s were a time of rapid technological advancement, consumerism at its peak, and a music industry undergoing transformation.

Damon Albarn, one of the masterminds behind Gorillaz, was already known for his socially reflective lyrics with his previous band, Blur. When creating Gorillaz, together with co-creator Jamie Hewlett, Albarn was delving into a more eclectic mix of genres and styles. This experimental phase was paired with a hyper-awareness of the world’s state.

“19-2000” reflects this awareness. The song’s release coincided with the Y2K hysteria’s remnants, the dawn of a new millennium, and the accompanying apprehensions and hopes. The world was changing, and fast. The desire for something solid and the recognition of the ephemeral nature of trends, as depicted in the song, resonate with this period’s ethos.

It’s also worth noting that the Gorillaz project, as a virtual band, was in itself a commentary on celebrity culture, authenticity, and the very nature of music consumption in the digital age. The song, with its multi-layered messages, serves as both a critique of and a participant in the music industry’s machinations.