Sunday, March 7, 2010

Welcome To The World Of Plastic Beach

By Ian Minor

The fictional members of Gorillaz are in a bad state, bassist Murdoc has gone insane and dragged singer 2D to a island made of trash. Guitarist Noodle is missing with a robot taking her place and Russell the drummer was last seen jumping off a pier. Obviously not the best conditions to make a album on. Luckily the real brains, Damon Albarn, is doing great and after reuniting Blur and writing an Opera, he’s ready for some monkey business.

The album is heavily inspired by 80s pop, with a whole bunch of synths, which is quite a departure from the world feeling of Demon Days. It’s most notable in the track "On Melancholy Hill," which I could see as one of those weird 80’s music videos. There’s also a lot of rap on this album. Mos Def and De La Soul are both great in "Stylo" and "Superfast Jellyfish" respectively. "Superfast" is one of my favorites, and it’s heading to be the the hit of the album. With it’s bizarre sounds and great lyrics (the opening line “It comes with a toy, I like that” is already becoming a meme) sets it up to be the "Feel Good, Inc" of the album.

While the rappers do great, Lou Reed really shines through as the high point with his great song “Some Kind Of Nature” probably the most green-friendly song on the album, yet it still keeps with the offbeat nature that is Gorillaz. Lou Reed’s voice is hypnotizing and you can’t help bobbing your head to the keyboards in the background.

It’s a shame they wasted two great guests, Mark E. Smith gives a few mumbled growls that somewhat resemble human speech on "Glitter Freeze." Snoop Dogg intros the album with some slurred rhymes, but I really don’t blame Damon for that, it’s more that Snoop has not been sober since his first album came out. Rap song "White Flag" suffers from bad editing, barely transitioning from the first part (The Lebanese National Orchestra) to the fast rhymes of Kano and Bashy. It could have been a great track but it just trips in it’s current form.

Is Plastic Beach the best Gorillaz album? No, but it really doesn’t matter, Plastic Beach has enough great songs to carry the somewhat lacking ones. It doesn’t hit you hard with rock like the last albums did, but really it didn’t have to. This is perfect lounging music and in these stressful times, maybe we need an album to just chill out to.

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