Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

“The joke is over. The Gorillaz are real,” declares Pitchfork’s Sean Fennessey, who has given the group’s 3rd studio album an 8.5/10 and stamped it with the label of ‘Best New Music.’ Not only Pitchfork, but Q, Rolling Stone, The Guardian and BBC Online praised the album for its “forward thinking pop, and the ability of the Gorillaz to get artists to step outside their comfort zone.”

Though the favorable opinions far out weigh the non-favorable, they do exist. But the Gorillaz have produced a gem with “Plastic Beach,” which delivers an addicting ride that takes its listeners from the remarkably beautiful to downright grimy.

Released March 9, Plastic Beach came in second on the charts and sold 112,000 copies its first week, beating their last album, “Demon Days,” from 2005.

Gorillaz co-creater Damon Albarn says, “I’m making this one the most pop record I’ve ever made in many ways, but with all my experience, try and at least present something that has got depth.”

The 16-track LP features previous collaborators Yukimi Nagamo (Little Dragon) and De La Soul, as well as appearances by Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mos Def, Grime MC’s Bashy and Cano and the Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music.

The Gorillaz are most known for their hits “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood,” and produce some catchy singles, none of their albums really grabbed my attention like Plastic Beach has.

“[Plastic Beach is] not just one of the best records of 2010, but a release to stand alongside the greatest Albarn’s ever been involved with and a new benchmark for collaborative music as a whole,” Mark Beaumont of BBC Online explained.

The CD has 3 official singles: “Stylo,” “Superfast Jellyfish (ft. De La Soul & Gruff Rhys),” and “On Melancholy Hill”. However, some golden tracks are much smoother and pleasing.

“Empire Ants (ft. Little Dragon)” is one of those tracks. Swedish/Japanese vocalist Yukimi Nagano sings:

“Little memories

Your little feet, working the machine

Will it spin? Will it soar?

My little dream, working the machine.”

The lyrics flowing over a very funky bass line fits perfectly with the mood of the song.

Another stand-out track is “Rhinestone Eyes,” which features heavy synth use and quite depressing vocals that might cause some to skip the track on first listen. The song changes to an electronic choir of kids that adds a little bit of funk to the song.

Very few artists release a full-length LP that you can play from beginning to end without skipping a song. Among those who have for me Animal Collective (“Merriwether Post-Pavilion”) and (“In Rainbows”), and although not quite near the scale of those artists, Gorillaz have made a good with ‘Plastic Beach.’

Michael Sheehan is a third year student majoring respiratory therapy. He can be reached at MS656728@wcupa.edu.

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