Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Published - 10 minutes ago, 2010

This one is going to be interesting.  I promise that I'll go fast.  I'm going fast because this is the first time that I've heard the album, and I kind of want to see what I can get out quickly while absorbing the music.  I'll probably come back to the Gorillaz at some point, because I love what they are doing, but this one is going to be all about the new one.

And I am literally listening to it right now.  The opening intro reminded me of the best parts of the Bioshock soundtrack, and we're opened into the "World of the Plastic Beach" by Snoop D O double G, which is always a good way to enter something.  As far as I can tell.  These two serve to show the eclectic styles that are going to be thrown into together.  A good solid intro.  However,

We're onto the next track now, and this motherfucking album is going to be on fucking fire for me.  We open with an orchestral intro, that is slowly developed and changed into the beat for some fucking flow.  Kano and Bashy, I bow down. It is an incredible start to what I hope to be an incredible album.  There is an amazing Middle Eastern style breakdown at the end of the song too.  Wild.

We've reached the next track, and here comes 2D, for the first really recognizable appearance.  This song, Rhinestone Eyes is a laid back dance track, a little down-tempo from Dare, but has a very nice late 70's feel to it.  This is a Gorillaz record.  It's not like anything else that you're going to hear this year.  A damn solid track.

Here we are, onto the big single, as far as I can tell from my perch across the Pacific.  Stylo is the only song on this disc that I have heard before, so I think I can process it better.  One: Go see the video.  I know that you guys love that new OK Go joint, but you should check out Stylo, just to see the new aesthetic that Gorillaz is working with.  Two, it's a weirdly downtempo joint, but I guess that is the style that they go for.  Just think a bit about Feel Good, Inc.  This song, however, is much more focused on the guests than FGI was.  It reminds me what sold them to me in the first place though.  As I said before, it's a completely different vibe than you'll hear on almost anything else.  I cannot name a band that in one album moves over more musical space.  

We're moving on to the next song, featuring the man himself, from FGI, De la Soul.  Another bumping rap track.  Superfast Jellyfish is some kind of crazy fast foodish advertising song.  What the fuck am I listening to?  This is amazing.  It's so different, I don't even know how to describe it.  It's a light poppy song that is also a bumping rap song.  So weird...

Aight next up, a song called Empire Ants.  You can really feel the beach theme coming through on the beginning of this one.  It sounds like one of those slow surf songs with the singing guitar.  Another slow track, a bit, God, do I say it out loud, Beach Boy-ish?  It sounds like that moment when the boardwalk closes in the evening right before a drizzle, when the beach is actually just a beach, and not just covered in ambient noise.  Then the track moves into a nightclub like dance track, which is sung by Little Dragon.  One thing that you need to realize about the Gorillaz is that they bring out great tracks because they work with great people.  I don't know who Little Dragon is, but I'm inclined to pick up their album just due to them working with Gorillaz.  

We're onto another track, one that sounds like a dubstep creation.  This album is full of songs that are just too weird to be described, and that is exactly what I love about the Gorillaz.  It takes so much to pay attention and listen to them that you're fully absorbed.  It might not be your cup of tea, but if you don't find at least one track on each album that you find fascinating, I think that you might not be real.  A lot of electronic distortion is used in this track, but it is not at the expense of music, but to make the music itself.  Very Dust Brothers.  Beautifully complex.

Jesus Christ!  It's Lou Reed!  From Walk on the Wild Side!  What the hell are you doing here Lou Reed?  Not that I am not appreciating it, but seriously, you've completely derailed my ability to write about this awesome song, because it just got like a 40 point bonus for having you on it.  I'm so incredibly psyched that Lou Reed is on a Gorillaz album.  I have nothing more to say about Some Kind of Nature other than if you don't listen to this album...

On Melancholy Hill is a haunting and beautiful track, that just sort of lasts.  It's beautifully simple and progresses wonderfully.  Listen to this album.  It'll do you some good.

Broken is another song that is a little slower, a little more beachy, than the other Gorillaz records.  However, the heartache vocals of 2D and the hurt that he expresses in his voice is pretty incredible.  The performances are quite amazing and wonderful.  This is a great slow walking, thinking album.  

Mos Def is a talented man.  In Sweepstakes he appears to be rapping over the most eclectic group of electronic instruments that will ever get together.  He's being distorted, changed, and burning the track up.  The sound is all encompassing, and slowly morphs into the sound of a big band playing the electronic instruments part.  This is giving me fucking goosebumps.  I write about music and try to give you some insight into my feelings about it and this is just too wild, I just don't know what I can say about it that won't make no sense to you.  This track will never be played in a DJ's set, and yet, it is the most incredibly fucking weird awesome mashed up wild song that I have heard in years.  Also, Mos Def just destroyed this album.  He fucking owned it completely, and that song is now over, and I don't even know where they go from here.

Now, we're onto the title track, Plastic Beach.  Another song that sounds a bit like a downtempo dance track.  However, I am enthralled.  I cannot turn my ears away, because I'm afraid that I am going to miss the next change and miss the next moment where it develops into another album entirely.  The chorus is amazingly beautiful and interesting.  I'm going to be obsessed with this album for a while after this.  

Another beachy track, called To Binge, featuring Little Dragon.  It's very pretty and I've been sitting back and just soaking up the song for the most of it.  So I'll be moving on quickly.  Very beautiful though.

Cloud of Unknowing is a lot like the two wrap up tracks of Demon Days.  If you like the sonic experimentation, and you want them to branch out, these are the kinds of tracks that you live for.  If you just want them to do more poppy stuff, this is going to be the part that might lose you.

Finally, we get to Pirate Jet, which is a bouncing track, somewhat reminiscent to me at least of Sgt. Pepper, where we hear the marching beat, and we've got the wrapping up of the message.  This is obviously an environmental record, but this is going to be a strange one for people to get into for that reason.  The music is just too good to overlook.  And they are playing some amazing tracks on this one too.

I'm going to write a brief conclusion, and save pontificating on the Gorillaz for later.  I want you to pick up this album.  This album is firmly in the Not Optional category.  If I had a category for Instant Classic, because I am reviewing it the day it came out in the US, this one would be all over it.  I'm listening to the bonus tracks at the moment, and I'm already hungry to get right back into the album.  I hope you'll pick it up, not because of my recommendation, but because you want to encourage artists to make new and interesting works, that draw you in and make you sit and consider them.  You so rarely get artist that constantly are expanding and trying new things, that we need to encourage them.  

I know that I have been quiet on the blog front recently, but fear not, more Album Projects are on the way.  I'm having trouble getting them off my iPod at the moment, but I have a bunch cued up on that.  

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my liveish blog of this one, and go pick up the album.
Listen up, and listen like crazy,

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