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Jun 18, 2010
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Gorillaz was never the easiest musical act to understand. First, they’re musicians trying to pass themselves as cartoon characters, which, if we may say so, aren't exactly the cutest kind! [firstpara]More substantially, they’re music isn’t exactly accessible. Are they hip-hop? Are they rock? Are they electronic?

That said, their latest offering, Plastic Beach is awesome. For the uninitiated, this may as well be your gate-way Gorillaz record. It’s accessible, peppered with moments of catchiness, laden with melodious hooks.

Many long-time fans and critics say it doesn't hold a candle to their debut record. But we beg to differ: In Plastic Beach, Gorillaz has finally gotten down pat the post-modern trickery that they’ve has been trying to do all these years.

It is the most planchado of the three Gorillaz outings, sans sequential stitches, evidence of struggles at putting highfaluting ideas (and aural textures!) together, or any marks of effort from the musicians behind the cartoon characters.

Especially on your first few spins, there is always something new to notice and to like about Plastic Beach. A new element, an exquisite insert, another potential favorite song, a collab out to make you scream like a girl.

For us? Why, hands down the one with Lou Reed, lead single “Some Kind of Nature,” which is track nine of 16 numbers. But that’s getting ahead of the story.

Plastic Beach opens with an orchestral intro lazily titled “Orchestral Intro” that breaks into the suavely hip-hop collab with Snoop Dogg, “Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach.” It is very low-key number, but dang those beats beg for a little swagger.

“White Flag” follows and immediately, it will remind you of  King Ralph or some other funny royal reference—orchestra fly right after a smooth flute solo.Then its true colors show: the song breaks into a minimalist gangsta tune.

The first true gem of the record is track four, “Rhinestone Eyes.” This is the first song on the record without collaboration. Damon Albarn raps lethargically, with minimal but interesting, animated instrumentation in the background.

It is the contrast between Albarn’s lethargy and the strangely animated background that disables you to hear the song build into a thicker, better whole. But when everything comes together—at about the 50th-second marker—a super synth hook comes right away, striking the listener from nowhere.

Next: Mos Def, Little Dragon, and Lou Reed


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WORDS BY: LOU E. ALBANO

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