Trending: Are Gorillaz really 'selling their soles'?


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The Independent Culture

This week, an all-star line-up of three of the best acts of the 21st century (or parts of them, at least) will team up for a new collaboration. It's not for a Brits spectacular, but for a track called "Do Ya Thing" featuring Gorillaz, LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy and OutKast's André 3000, and funded, and given away by, Nike-owned Converse.

The brand has been using its position as the rubber sole of choice for every musician from Johnny Ramone to Josh Groban to colour itself with musical cool for a number of years now.

The Gorillaz project – which includes some Jamie Hewlett-designed Chuck Taylor shoes – is the latest in a run of "three artists, one song" collaborations funded by the shoemaker. Previous efforts include Julian Casablancas, Santigold and NERD's "My Drive Thru" in 2008 and 2010's meeting of British electronic royalty when Bernard Sumner, Hot Chip and Hot City collaborated on "Didn't Know What Love Was".

The obvious response to this shilling is to scream "SELL-OUT!" But there's one annoying glitch in this particular sell-out. The songs are really good. So does it matter if they're funded by Nike?

If anything, the Cons tracks have been improvements on the acts' recent proper releases. "My Drive Thru" might have been the best thing that NERD's Pharrell Williams has done in the past five years. Ditto Casablancas, whose Converse track is better than most of the last Strokes album. Sumner's team-up with Hot Chip also thrashes recent work with Bad Lieutenant. The Gorillaz track ought to disprove that trend (all three acts have been consistently brilliant), but it's an interesting quirk.

Anyway, if the choice is between these collaborations existing or not, then fans fatted by free tracks from Spotify/ YouTube can't complain. This has long been the reality. As Gorillaz' own Murdoc Niccals puts it on the band's site: "We're happy to help sell their soles."