Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

March 16th, 2010 by Ryan Nisley

After a five-year period following the release of “Demon Days” in 2005, let me say: “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach.” The Gorillaz, everyone’s favorite virtual band, has finally created a new album that has been highly anticipated. The album is packed with sixteen tracks that incorporate the usual range of genres from Hip Hop to Electronica and Alternative/Pop Rock. One aspect of the Gorillaz that catches listeners’ attention is the various artists featured on each song. For instance, the song “White Flag” features two rappers and the National Orchestra for Arabic Music, all on top of a simple electronic piano loop. What is interesting to me is that somehow all of those parts fit together to make a very unique song. Meanwhile, the song “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach” features Snoop Dogg and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble presenting this new realm that the Gorillaz have created. The album art effectively brings the listener into another world, especially with the cover.

The cover shows an island at sunset that is suspended above the surface of the water, which seems to suggest that the water will rise. On top of the island sits a modern house and palm trees. A few songs that stood out to me on this album are “Empire Ants” and “Melancholy Hill.” Both tracks are so relaxing that I could easily imagine myself laid back on the beach, watching the waves roll in. I would say that Plastic Beach does not have any major hits compared to the success of “Clint Eastwood” or “Feel Good Inc.,” but it definitely has some solid hits that are memorable because of their unique style. The first single made into a video is the song “Stylo.”

The music video for “Stylo” features the cartoon characters speeding down a desert road in a beat-up muscle car. Meanwhile, a policeman (played by Bruce Willis) pursues them and fires his revolver at their car. The chase continues until the Gorillaz drive off a cliff into the ocean. Bruce Willis seems to think he’s won, but the Gorillaz’ car transforms into a mechanical fish and swims away. Naturally. Musically memorable about “Stylo” is the bass line that instantly becomes stuck in the listener’s head. Overall, I think this album demonstrates the versatility of Gorillaz and the creativity that can result from musical collaboration. I would not say that this album is better or worse than the previous two albums because I think it would only be fair to say that it is different. There are a few songs that were unappealing, but there are a number of tracks that are worth coming back to.

Recommended Tracks: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Download on Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

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