I’ve know been listening to Plastic Beach, the new Gorillaz album, for nearly 36 hours now pretty much non-stop as my Last.fm will attest, so I thought I’d give some thoughts on what I thought so far.
The album starts out with a beautiful orchestration piece. If there’s one thing Damon Albarn can do it’s right amazing classical sounding music. I kind of wish he’d do an entire album or soundtrack with just that kind of stuff. We cut to the second song and the first words you hear uttered are from Mr. Snoop Dogg himself, which when I hear it makes me laugh every time. He kind of raps about nature and peace and stuff though, which I think are definitely Damon inspired, but it sounds great. From there we is the song White Flag, which features Kano and Bashy, but more importantly in my mind, is The Lebanese National Orchestra fro Oriental Arabic Music. It’s absolutely brilliant that Mr. Albarn can tie together these extremely different kinds of music into one song. It’s exactly that talent that makes me think he’s one of the most brilliant musicians alive right now.
Then there’s Rhinestone Eyes, one of the few tracks that’s just Damon singing on his own, which in my mind are some of the best on the album. There’s also On Melancholy Hill, Broken and Pirate Jet as well. I think On Melancholy HIll would be the other really stand out track which features just him.
The other artists that I really enjoyed are Little Dragon and Mos Def. Little Dragon has such an amazing voice, and Empire Ants and To Binge are two of my favorite tracks on the album. I kind of hope she gets written in as a character in the Gorillaz mythos. And of course Mos Def is just an amazing guy, and both Stylo and Sweepstakes are great tracks, with the latter featuring a huge brass ensemble that beats anything that Mark Ronson has done.
I’d say that overall, however amazing I think this album is, it isn’t quite as good as Demon Days. There’s not dance track like D.A.R.E. and honestly the ending seemed brief and kind of lacking. The end of Demon Days on the other hand could only be described as epic, which of course is what I compare this to. That said, this album for me is like an 8 out of 10, just an absolute gem. I can’t wait to buy this album to hear it in it’s full glory and to get some rad new Jamie Hewlett art.
If you’d like to listen to the album for yourself check it out on NPR.